I spent last week in Orlando, FL, attending Suzanne Evans’ Be the Change event (BTCE). It was my first time experiencing it, and I got quite a bit of unexpected value from it.
BTCE is a huge spectacle – imagine a room filled with nearly a thousand entrepreneurs, lights, confetti, music, dancing, a live band, cheerleaders, a circus act, you name it (they even played the Harlem Shake at one point).
Personally, I didn’t come there for the flashing lights or noise. In fact, during the breaks I retreated to my hotel room to do alligator stretches in silence, in my yoga pants.
No, I attended BTCE because one of my mentors said it was the “best business event for entrepreneurs” that she’d ever been to. “Interesting,” I thought. “I want to experience that…”
I also wanted to put myself in a new environment and see who I could “be” in different situations.
I ended up meeting dozens of fascinating people. I talked about my forthcoming book, Stalking the Alpha Male and experimented with various ways of presenting the content. People mirrored back to me something beautiful in every conversation.
I also learned a shit ton of content to help fuel my business forward.
The event was overwhelming, intense at times, and unapologetically “uplevelling” – but also very worth it.
And now, after condensing everything I learned, here are 19 takeaways I got from BTCE, Suzanne Evans, and her guest speakers:
1) Decide fast. Clean up the mess later. Making a decision and acting on it imperfectly is more effective than being stuck trying to making the right decision. We get into trouble when we attempt to make things “right” and “perfect” before we take action. Just make a decision, act, and clean up later. (Allow the mess to actually happen.)
2) Progress can happen quickly. A breakthrough doesn’t have to take years, months, or even hours. It can happen in minutes. A huge change can be experienced in a second when you make a decision, follow through with it, and maintain absolute trust that the universe will bring you what you need.
3) Having a business is about making a profit. Yeah, this one seems obvious…but how many of us got into business because we wanted to “help people”? Or save people? Or heal them? Or change the world. A business, by definition, is an entity that exists to turn a profit. If you’re not making a profit, you have a hobby, not a business.
4) Motion beats meditation. Sometimes we overthink things and over-meditate. At the end of the day, action is what counts.
5) Financial freedom means losing all your money and knowing you can make it back again. It’s not about having a certain dollar amount in your bank account. It’s about having the faith that if you were to go bankrupt tonight, you’d know exactly what to do to be up on your feet again tomorrow.
6) Don’t qualify anyone. Don’t waste time building a case for why someone would be an ideal client for you. Instead, disqualify them. Qualifying requires a lot of work. Disqualifying requires saying, “Next.”
7) Ordinary people sell things. Extraordinary people tell stories that inspire people to buy things. Before BTCE, I’d never heard of Bert Jacobs, co-founder of Life is good® brand T-shirts. But after hearing him speak about how he and his brother started a business from nothing – because they didn’t want to get a “real” job – I found myself standing in line with hundreds of other people waiting to buy a copy of his book and get it autographed. He told a powerful story that made me an instant fan.
8 ) Don’t chase the paper. Chase the dream. Doing things for the sole purpose of getting dollars would be like playing a sport for the sole purpose of wracking up points on a scorecard. You’ll have a much better time if you focus on the game itself and the art of playing it, than the scorecard.
9) Being human is not a pathology. The current medical model pathologizes our humanness, makes it “not OK” to have feelings, flaws, or vulnerabilities. (This insight came courtesy of Debi Berndt.) The truth is that we’re here to experience the full essence of what makes us human. I did that at BTCE by allowing myself to feel everything I was feeling.
10) Wanting to be liked is keeping you broke. Enough said.
11) Fuck having clients. Have “fanatics.” Be so clear in your message and brand that people either say “Hell no” or “Hell yes” to working with you. There should be no middle ground. If there’s middle ground, it means you aren’t clear enough in your message. You should pissing people off regularly, while inspiring those who matter.
12) Consistency is key. How are you confusing your tribe? What curve balls have you thrown to your market, causing them to think, “Huh?” Do things consistently. Like sending out 1 newsletter per week, no matter how tired you are. (Ahem: note to self.)
13) Don’t get love from your business. Your biz does not exist to heal an emotional wound, or resolve daddy issues, or make you feel special. Your clients are not there to boost your self-esteem. That’s prostitution. You’re there to solve problems and make a profit.
14) Don’t waste the energy of your wild and precious life on what’s wrong. Spend it on what’s right. – Bert Jacobs. Amen.
15) Focus everything on where your brand is going next. Don’t waste one single iota of time or energy trying to force something that no longer works, into working. Let go of the past and move forward. (Suzanne Evans does this at breathtaking speed.)
16) Life can hurt. Play can heal. – Bert Jacobs. With that said, I am so committed to looking at everything in life as “play.”
17) For the first time in the history of business, aesthetics is more important than words. Guess that means I need a makeover and a spa day for myself and my website. Get everything branded and always dress to reflect your brand.
18) The longer you complain, and the longer you want things for free – the longer you’ll stay broke. Put some skin in the game. Invest money into where you want to go. Quit grubbing on the free lunch.
19) Be strategic, not picky. Have a plan, then be open to how the universe delivers what you planned. Be unattached to the outcome.
Those are my main 19 takeaways from BTCE. If you attended, what were your big aha’s?
If you’re thinking of attending in 2014 (in Vegas) and have questions about the event, post them here and I’ll give you my honest feedback.
P.S. Check out #BTCE2013 hashtag on Twitter for the latest discussion on this event.