#shine Wrap-up Finale: What I learned in Vegas

So you’ve seen my take on the good, bad and ugly at Ali Brown’s Shine event. And if you missed it, check my previous posts.

Today, I wanted to boil it all down to what I actually learned and what my “take aways” were from this event.

I was fortunate in that I was able to spend a couple extra days in Vegas processing, filtering, connecting, and getting more clarity on how to apply everything I gleaned before, during and after Shine.

The biggest take away is that you really do get what you take. Everyone went in with so many varied opinions and ideas – some positive, some negative. But ultimately, each person makes an assessment as to whether or not they’d do it all over again. I definitely would go back because so much good came out of this event for me.

But I was looking for the good in the first place. It didn’t come in all the ways I expected, or hoped, but there was a TON of value I never would have gotten had I not gone to Vegas.

For example, one of my core values is experiences. I love participating in and creating experiences where people can connect, share, grow and support one another. Love it, love it, LOVE IT. That’s been the missing link in my business and my life, and I didn’t figure that out until I was in the room watching a half dressed guy spinning heavy metal objects during the opening of the event. It wasn’t the spinning guy that thrilled me (really. not my type), but the oohing and aaahing and “illegal” photography that the audience was doing that interested me. You could tell that people were raising their energy, getting excited, and wanting to find something exciting in this event.

It was all about the experience. And while I won’t say I’m a seminar junkie, it does explain why I love direct sales so much – creating experiences for clients to really enjoy themselves and feel good about their own lives.

There Are A LOT Of People Looking For Clarity
Most of the women and men I met at Shine were looking or clarity, direction and the “How-to’s” to grow their business idea. They are smart, hard working people, trying to “figure it out” – many trying to balance their heart with their head. The answers, most of the time, are already within us – or within arm’s reach. And it doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg to get the answers you need. You just need to know where to look.

I like reinventing myself
A couple of weeks prior to shine, I was at a mastermind retreat where I realized that one of the biggest thrills in my life is helping people get that “Ah-HA!” moment of clarity in their life. I’ve worked with theater owners, authors, actors, direct sellers, designers, small biz owners, and even heads of multi-million dollar companies. Sometimes it’s the teeny weeny little idea that gets overlooked that puts everything into perspective.

So I created these “limited edition” business cards positioning myself as an idea coach and professional brainstormer – helping people get clarity or create new ideas to make their business profitable. It felt like being home.

I wasn’t pigeon-holed into a niche, I could communicate effortlessly with all kinds of entrepreneurs – including a rocket scientist whilst in the airport – and offer substantive help that got peoples wheels turning.

I Like That! So we’ve created where I’ll be doing more of that brainstorming and focus work.

People-Watching Pays
From the waitstaff to the sales reps on the main floor of the Venetian, to the other participants in the event, there was a lot to learn just by watching others. The way they carried themselves, what they said, what they DIDN’T say – there was free education all around just by keeping your eyes open.

Never Leave Anything To Chance
Anne McKevitt said this in an off-hand kind of way during her branding presentation, but it stuck with me. And as the event went on, I looked for places where Ali’s team worked hard to leave nothing to chance. While we kind of had to work at applying a lot of the hidden lessons from Shine, this one idea gave me some new directions in my own life and business.

Everything Works. You Just Have To Be Tenacious.
Really. It doesn’t matter what business model you choose, or how you set everything up. Every strategy that’s being taught will work if you apply enough tenacity to it. Granted, some will work better than others, and not everything will be a perfect fit for you, but people wouldn’t espouse it if it didn’t work.

Which Means, It’s Really About Resonance.
So while everything WILL work, finding the thing that resonates most with you is where you’ll be most content. Then, even if it’s not the most effective idea for others, you’ll be happy and productive.

Bluntly, in the Internet Marketing realm, there are experts that tell you the best way to squeeze every dollar out of a prospect is with upsells, downsells, cross sells, and probably diagonal sells if they could figure that out. But most of us don’t resonate with that, and “settle” for a happy medium – a balance of content and pitch that makes us feel we’re providing value, developing relationships and getting compensated appropriately.

My action plan is to re-design my business around the way I would want to be treated as a customer – and as a human being. It costs more and means harder work, and it’s worth it, because I’m proud of the end result, my true fans appreciate me, and they know what effort goes into producing a quality product. It also means more hands-on, personal interaction with me, because that’s where I think people get the best results. And since I’m all about results, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Binders Suck
That was probably the second biggest disappointment of Day One. This gorgeous binder was at my seat waiting for me and inside was nothing but lined note paper and a “resource” section that was filled with Ali’s products on discount. It felt like such a waste, even after we were given about 20 pages to plug into it.

I’ve never found a program where “the binder” met my expectations. It always felt like an overpriced way to share the powerpoint slides. So you’ll very likely never see me doing any kind of binder.

Now I know from a sales perspective that when you put it in a binder, it’s easier for the customer to lose pieces, which prevents refunds. But if I’m truly focused on helping my clients succeed, why do I want them to lose anything? More importantly, if they want to return it, I want to make that as easy as pie – especially in light of the new FTC rulings. I ONLY want to work with people that WANT to work with me and WANT to get results.

If I Build It (And It Rocks) They WILL Come
Out of one side of their mouth, experts tell you that there are industry “standards” about drop off rates, subscriber open rates, and conversion rates. They tell us to expect that kind of stuff. Then out of the other side of their mouth they talk about attracting perfect clients, abundance and the fact that there is only cooperation, not competition.

So if I subscribe to the abundance, attraction notion, it stands to reason that I can have an amazing business filled with people that love my style, my approach, my outlook and my content. The only thing really standing in my way is what I call the “Emperor’s New Clothes Syndrome”. We keep spinning our wheels when we know something’s amiss, because we’re told that it worked for someone else, so it should work for us – instead of trusting our instincts and doing what we know resonates more perfectly in our own world.

I’ve learned that trusting my gut and expecting – nay demanding – more for myself and my clients makes me a hero to my ideal clients. It’s harder work, but it’s better rewarded. The half-ass approach of doing the minimum brings people to you that want more than the minimum for minimum prices.

One of my lists has about 1700 people on it. Each subscriber on that list is worth over $100 to me (and growing). I learned at Shine that’s an incredible value! And I cherish that, because it means that I’m doing all the right things to keep that list responsive and lucrative.

One of the concepts that Napoleon Hill talks about in Think and Grow Rich is doing more than you’re paid for. Going above and beyond is expected anymore. Shirking will just cause you to end up with the dregs.

And just like the Field of Dreams, all the players didn’t take the field in the beginning. But some of the players told other players, and eventually they DID show up.

Modeling Will Only Take You So Far – Then You’ve Got to Innovate
Learning from others is a great place to start when you’re stuck, or have no idea how to begin. But there comes a point in time when you must break out of the ruts the other wagons have laid down and forge a path of your own. Otherwise, you’re just a pale reflection of those that have gone before you.

I think of some of the greatest musicians of all time – they were all inspired by other great musicians. If all they ever did was model their heroes, everyone would be playing Purple Haze exactly the same way.

But when Hendrix played the National Anthem everyone stood up and took notice. Some people liked it, others were in shock, everyone said it was an innovative approach to an “old standard”.

So I’m taking time to learn outside my own field and tap into the expertise of others that have nothing to do with my business – some of them long since dead. Newton, Asimov, Picasso, daVinci all are great sources of inspiration to cross- pollinate your brain and get you thinking outside the incestuous relationships within your industry.

Women Overcome
When put to the test, women are amazingly resilient, enduring creatures that put up with a lot of stuff. We’re also deceptive, sneaky, tricky and cunning. We can use our powers for good or evil and when we choose good, the effect is exponential, trickling down through societies, permeating cultures, and changing the world.

Aside from the speakers, I met some incredibly remarkable women – some I was already following, and some new faces as well. Each of them has a wonderful gift to share and I’m confident they WILL share it because they are overcomers. Keri’s ability to connect quickly makes it clear she’s perfectly suited to social media coaching – despite what Anne might say. Jill’s gift for writing is clearly evident in her manner of speaking. Cutressa’s enthusiasm lights up her space and the lives of everyone around her – I think everyone knew Cutressa by the end of the event. MonSun, my Faerie Godmother, Sabine, and even Nicole (a client I met up with) all left a lasting imprint about who they are, what they want to accomplish in the world, and how they’re taking action on getting it done. And they will, because they overcome. Not to neglect the dozens of other women at this event that I met – each was remarkable. And I know each will overcome. It’s in their DNA, so to speak.

I Don’t Need Permission. I Need Connections.
Kind of self explanatory. I realized that I can be anyone I believe I am – without waiting for confirmation, validation or recognition from some external source, be it a person, mastermind group, coach or other entity living or dead.

There’s no “acting as if”. I already AM, therefore, it’s not acting.

I met a woman who dubbed herself My Faerie Godmother, and she told me things about me I’ve never shared publicly – and I couldn’t explain it away. She told me about my mom, my kid, my husband and all the things I’ve been trying to live up to – or live down. The buck stops here. Now.

I’m “smarter than the average bear” and don’t have to apologize for who I am. There are throngs of people that actually enjoy the part of me I’ve allowed to really shine through. That means regardless of my shape, size, texture or hair color (and yes it will stay blonde for many months to come), I’m me and that’s groovy. I don’t need your approval, program, group or seal of authenticity to be me.

What I do need is to continue to connect with people that expand my thinking like that. People that have viewpoints, clarity, confusion, directions, aspirations and energies that are different from my own. It’s part of what drives me and helps me thrive.

Good Things Come To He Who Waiteth If He Worketh Like Heck While He Waiteth
This was actually a little plaque that hung over my Grandma’s kitchen sink. There is a process to achieving success – an incubation period – and skipping steps only slows you down. Do things right the first time so you don’t have to go back and do them again, and quit trying to get ahead of yourself. Life’s not a race, it’s a cruise. The buffet’s pretty tasty and the view is spectacular fro all sides once you leave port.

So many of us are trying to hurry up and get rich/famous/successful, and we forget there’s a process to this stuff. Wolfgang Puck was quoted in INC magazine as saying that slow and steady growth is the best way to ensure longevity in the marketplace. He’s watched dozens of restaurants come and go that grew three times as fast as he has – and he’s the one still standing.

I’ve been reading a lot of stories about entrepreneurs from the turn of the last century – some you’ve never even heard of for that very reason. They wanted to grow too fast, and ruined themselves. On the other hand, the prudent, judicious and successful entrepreneurs that are still known to this day, took their time to carefully grow their businesses in ways that would be sustainable. Don’t trade a lot of money later for a little money right now.

I Like Being a Blonde
Several followers asked about the choice to go blonde, suggested I go back, and commiserated with me on the grey hair that lurks beneath the surface. The fact of the matter is I enjoy being blonde WAY more than I enjoyed having brown/grey hair, and it will likely stay that way for a long while. I can’t say blondes have more fun, but I can say that I’m easier to spot in the crowd, and it’s doing for me what I set out to do when I changed the color in the first place. Purple would probably have been just as effective, but I figured that was a little less professional.

I Like Rocking The Boat
Not to be cantankerous, but I like pointing out the stuff that doesn’t work. I’m not trying to be a Negative Nelly here – it’s not about being negative for negativity’s sake. I think there’s great value in sharing what works and what doesn’t so that people can improve themselves. Not everyone will agree, I’m sure, and that’s fine. They’re not part of my tribe. Usually when I point out a faux pas, I’m quick to offer a solution if I can find one. That’s how my brain is wired. Find a problem, find some solutions, fix it and move on. I’m not going to apologize for that anymore, I’m just going to rock it out!

So that’s the gist. There’s more, and I’ll be sharing stuff as I go along and wriggle out of the new cocoon, but you get the idea of where I’m headed here. Your comments, thoughts and witty remarks are welcome feedback!