I need to preface this post with a fact about me:
I am a very optimistic person. When things get rough, and people tell me I can’t do something, the first thing I want to do is do it! (Occasionally to a fault but nonetheless, challenge accepted.)
Earlier in the day as I was getting ready, I didn’t know if I should be 15 minutes early to have a table ready, or to arrive right on time casually so I don’t seem too eager, and after all that, ended up 3 minutes late. That being said, today I met with a woman to collaborate some business ideas and bring our strengths together as coaching professionals. I went in to the meeting thinking we were on the same path and it was destiny that I met her. I was so excited to bring my ideas to her and build an empire with my plans. In my defense, I messaged her to let her know I was on the way. I don’t recommend being late for the first meeting of the rest of your life, but there was a silver lining. When I got there, she wasn’t there at all. Immediately, my intuition told me this was not going to be what I expected.
I waited in line, ordered my coffee, and I sent a message to her confirming place and time, and waited for a response. I slowly made my coffee and waited for the longest 5 minutes of my life. I actually opened each packet of sweetener individually to allow her more time. My coffee was incredibly sweet that day. (Insert sarcasm) I stared out into the parking lot looking around for a car that might be hers. I then looked around the room to make sure she wasn’t actually sitting there and I possibly didn’t recognize her. I would have been mortified, and not to mention, how super unprofessional of me. Oh yeah, and I added some of that disgusting vanilla powdered flavoring to really add insult to injury and waste more time. I started to contemplate how long should I wait before I leave…I think I just got stood up.
Just then…“Almost there,” she responded. A little bummed that the expected scenario did not play out the way I had naively envisioned, I apprehensively scanned the room again to pick the best area to meet. I was kind of hanging on by my last thread of hope, sat down, and forced a smile.
When she arrived she looked busy and occupied going through the motions. Not knowing where to start, I thanked her for coming and started talking. I was eager to share my prepared list of ideas, but because I was a bit disillusioned from the previous 5 minutes of life contemplation, I began rambling. I stopped myself from talking because I had just bombarded her with an explicit display of gross inexperience. I realized I hadn’t even given her an opportunity to let me know what her expectations were, so I asked where she was in her journey and what she wanted out of this collaboration. She talked about her previous experience with every idea I proposed and my stomach sank, I knew what was coming next.
Prepare for the Sagittarius specialty of occasional verbal diarrhea!
I remained positive and continued. “Let me just tell you ALL the ideas I have!” I was supposed to wow her with my charm and creativity to prompt some form of excitement to match mine. I was bursting with more ideas that I wanted to share in a desperate attempt to find something that she would be interested in. Basically, after I was through bearing my soul to a stranger, on my virgin flight of being an entrepreneur, she said, “All of that sounds good but there’s too much time to be invested and not much return financially on the investment.” The reality hit that she wasn’t super interested in playing a large role in anything I was presenting. I was open to her feedback and sensed the resistance, so I tried to identify the “why” behind her resistance. I didn’t have to wonder long, because she transparently gave me her truth willingly.
She told me a story about her mentor. This person was doing exactly what I was suggesting, on a grander scale, and extremely successful. But because this person was essentially only breaking even financially… they quit!
This is the part during our conversation where my stomach turning progressed to disappointment. If I was standing outside myself, I could see my whole body dripping like melted wax. My face and body muscles relaxed like a wave down my spine, and I had to adjust my position to lift my chin with dignity because I wanted to cry on the inside like a baby. My fervor was chopped down like a tree, but I tried to sit tall. Overcompensating for my disenchantment, I realized I was talking kind of fast and I didn’t know how to proceed with a meeting like this. I felt foolish. I would later realize that this feeling I felt wasn’t about me at all. I was feeling her disappointment and frustration. My sympathy turned to empathy, and I almost got sucked into the emotions until my coaching experience took over.
I tried to stop the meeting right then and there. I said, “At this point in time, I can definitely see you’ve got your own thing going on and all of those previous experiences you explained are valid. The overhead could be high, no financial gain verses the effort and time… so why don’t we both pause, think about our possible resources through our individual network of contacts, and maybe we could come back together another time and brainstorm?” She reeled me back in because out of all the ideas I threw at her in the beginning, she liked one. I was pleased. I suggested some venues and she was intrigued. My thread of hope turned to a very loose friendship bracelet of interwoven ideas between she and I. I agreed that I could manpower the initiative and she was open to meeting again. We left the meeting with a possible collaboration in the future, but really nothing ready to put into action.
But there was still that one part of the conversation that kept reoccurring in my thoughts.
If her mentor was so successful in bringing people together, why quit? That makes absolutely no sense. If that person considers themselves a mentor and coach they don’t just quit. If this person is passionate enough to build this strong force of like-minded individuals, in my opinion, that person should feel the empowerment and fulfillment of bringing so many professionals together. My definition of a mentor and coach is someone that is not perfect because of their mistakes. They have been there, done that! They suggest options in the face of adversity. There is no quitting, there is only inspiring alternatives. For those people that choose to be a coach and mentor, it is important to know your clients rely on your guidance and encouragement because that is your gift.
The satisfaction that comes with finding your purpose is pretty powerful stuff!
I realized this meeting had nothing to do with collaborating with her and more about never allowing anyone or anything to take away your passion. This experience fed my motivation because when things get rough and people tell me I can’t do something, the first thing I want to do is do it! (Remember the preface?) I now have a better understanding for what I am in for on this journey and I’m not discouraged because my mentor is not a quitter. I am my mentor! Every step of my journey gets me a little closer, gives me a little more insight, and my destination dances like a flicker of candlelight in the distance.