Just about a year ago I wrote a blog called When Career Love Clashes With Someone Else’s View for Motto Magazine. I related how I’d invested some time with an expert market strategist who’d cautioned me not to target my business toward a female market. In short, she felt that marketing myself as a woman who speaks to women and about women, would be the financial kiss of death. “They don’t pay women speakers.” Well, I told you I’d keep you posted. I’m back to gloat, I mean report.
First, let me say that this woman is a genius at her job— pure gold in her industry. Her market predictions are brilliantly accurate. At the time her challenge to me, (which oddly sounded likely a demand to choose between my passion and profit), both scared the pants off me and royally pissed me off. Choose? I had to choose! I don’t think so.
So I went about my business, vigorously pursued my passion, banked the profit, and here we are today. Now the beauty of this thing is that she did me a colossal favor. Intuitively, I knew this at the time. So I gave myself the space to sift through the debris that accumulated as the war between my devotion to my passion and my commitment to the profit ensued. I wanted both. I wanted the AND. Here’s what happened.
I held her opinion on the side but in view. I went for what my gut demanded. I discovered that my instincts were correct—if I held myself as an ‘expert’ in the field of women and leadership, then so would others. Had I apologized through my career, then I’d likely be telling a different story.
My revenues doubled. Then tripled. Please don’t tell my clients, but I’d gladly do it for nothing. And, on occasion, I have. Truly.
Easy to do? Hell no!!! Pursuing our passion simply sucks sometimes. We’re out there on a limb and no one will throw us a line, and we’re sure that at any moment our life is going to be blown to smithereens. Sometimes it is. That’s what leadership is about. Being out in the front of the line, in complete solitude, not knowing if a single soul is following. And not caring.
That’s both the good news and the bad news about leading—about pursuing the passion. You never know which story you’ll end up telling.
What did I learn? Probably the same thing you’ve learned over and over….. that while trusting ourselves can be supremely difficult, sometimes any other choice is simply impossible.