I had just gotten off the beautiful ballroom stage at one of my biggest events ever, where I had stood next to my amazing mentor Mary Morrissey, and spoke to more than 300 newly certified coaches about my success—when a clear thought crossed my mind: I only want to be in rooms like this from now on. I don’t want to go back to small workshops. Until this point, I held workshops of 25 people or less, so this thought scared me.
Have you ever heard that little voice telling you to do something courageous, and you want to pretend you didn’t hear it because it doesn’t seem possible? That is what I did. I ignored that voice. I even justified ignoring it. My thoughts sounded something like this: Lauren, Mary has been an inspirational speaker and coach for nearly 50 years. Why do you think you’re going to be able to do that? You have 25 people max at your workshops. There’s no way to quadruple that!
This is the voice of dissuasion, and it’s what talks most people out of their dreams. Your logical mind is shutting down anything new and expansive because it will not allow you to see yourself outside of your typical pattern. That’s why most people are stuck in the same habits, perpetually.
But the thought of speaking in a beautiful ballroom for my own events would not leave me alone. So, I made a deal with myself. And it is the most lethal thing you can do to your dreams: a delay deal. It went something like this: When I can consistently have 25 people show up at my monthly workshops, then I’ll rent a ballroom.
Anytime you find yourself saying, “When ________, then I’ll ________,” you are delaying what your heart and soul are calling you to do. Here’s the reason why: If your paradigm (current pattern of behavior) can’t get you to say never, it will get you to say later.
So, with my delay deal made, I started advertising my next small workshop. I put more advertising dollars than ever before into this workshop, went to networking meetings, told everyone I knew, and invited all of my clients. I would first prove that I could consistently get 25 people, and then I would be on my way to the ballroom.
But when the day came—four people showed up. I was crushed. This was the smallest amount of people I’d ever had at a workshop! Even my very first workshop had 16 people at it. I felt like a total failure. And I felt like I had wasted time, money, and energy.
Knowing what I know about how success occurs, I didn’t let those dark thoughts continue for too long. You may think failure is a sign to stop or shrink back from your dreams. Nothing could be further from the truth.
I decided there had to be a gift within this failure. I dedicated myself to finding it and refused to believe this meant I could not have my dreams. Most people set out to go after a dream, and when it does not work on the first try, give up and use it as evidence that they can’t have it.
About five days after the event, I heard a loud and clear thought. It said: See Lauren, you can fail even in the room you don’t want to be in. I knew it was my voice for truth. Your own voice for truth will speak to you in a way you understand. It will be clear, strong and never frantic or stressed.
I knew now why I’d failed. I needed something to move me in the direction of my dream. Just the idea hadn’t been enough to get me to move. My intuition said “ballroom” and I didn’t listen. I had to fail in order to wake up and see that failure can happen even when you don’t like the path you’re on.
I decided to follow my intuition and rent the ballroom. Yes, it would be thousands of dollars. Yes, there would be a chance that no one would show up. Now though, I was willing to fail because at least I’d be failing moving toward my dream rather than failing while delaying myself from it.
When the day of my ballroom event arrived, not just four people showed up—94 people showed up. It was the best workshop I’d ever given and the most clients I’d ever enrolled in a day.
Your dream is in your heart for a reason. I promise you won’t ever achieve it by delaying or playing small. The risk of failure is the same, whether you fail while pursuing your dream or fail by doing nothing at all. Which would you prefer?