Are You Taking Enough Risk to Become More Wise?

I saw this great quote on my Facebook wall from my friend Shawne Duperon.

“Wisdom is Healed Pain”

And I thought to myself, “Yes, this is true.” But then I thought, “where does the pain come from that creates wisdom? Does all pain create wisdom? What exactly does it mean to be wise?” Hmm, interesting questions.

I really don’t have any conclusive answers but I know that I am not just more knowledgeable his year, but actually wiser than I was and that I am increasingly becoming more wise every year. Here are my biggest shifts and what wisdom I got from them.

Last Year’s Wisdom

Wisdom_owlLast year I did several new things. They were exciting, scary, and way out of my comfort zone, the biggest of which was creating a two-day event that I held three times last year. Let me tell you what went into the creation of that event.

The first event was terrifying. Was I going to make enough money to cover my costs? Was I going to make any money at all? Was I going to be able to bring in the right people to speak and attend? Did I know enough to be able to present and keep people interested for 2 days? These were the logical questions, but then came the illogical thoughts: People are going to think I’m a fraud. Do people really like me? No speaker is going to want to come to this event and speak. I don’t have what it takes to make something like this valuable.

The first pain comes from your own doubt. This is the place where many people quit. This is why so many don’t produce new work, because they think they will fail. Well, if you don’t do it you have already failed, so might as well put some effort into it. The cure for this for me was to set the date and share it with the people that support me.

I knew that I needed a location that offered food and a place where people could stay if they were coming from outside the city so I chose to host my event in a hotel. The next big pain came from realizing that there are hundreds of hotels. How do you choose. It is not as easy as just picking one because they all have different options and availability. I had to make visits and create new relationship. I had to negotiate pricing and extras. I had to learn to ask for more and to pay less and to do it efficiently so that I was not spending an entire month or more evaluating venues.

There are hundreds of details for creating, sharing, inviting, preparing for, and selling the event. Website domains, sales page, shopping carts, guest bios, confirmations, marketing campaign, participant information, sales calls, presentations, offers, handouts, printing, gifts, name tags, etc., and the overall management of the event. It was exhausting. I had a lot less sleep than I needed and I still needed to stay healthy and vibrant. Who wants to go to an event where the host is too tired to engage and entertain?

  • I learned a lot about what I loved to do, what drove me to get the work done and how to delegate.
  • I learned I was capable of attracting amazing speakers from around the continent to speak and creating a learning environment that inspired business owners to do more and become greater in service to their clients.
  • I learned I was a great negotiator, not because I could win a disagreement but because I could win over people by being authentically interested in them and ensuring our agreement was a win for us both.
  • I learned I had a lot of support in the people I knew.
  • I learned I could make money at what I did and people liked working with me.
  • I learned I had more information than I could use in two days.
  • I learned I liked selling my sponsorships early so I could concentrate on the event and not on the expense.
  • I learned enough to be much more comfortable with the second and third event.
  • I learned I can handle the pain of growth and come out the other end a better, more prepared person.

Scoring Your Wisdom

Start by looking at your accomplishment list for 2013. Create a list of all your accomplishments, big and small. This is a living list and you should be adding to this list every year (or more often). You should have 100 or more points on this list for last year, as you should for every year. If you could easily get to 100 in this list then you were doing the work. You are definitely more wise.

If you are not wiser this year than you were last, you are playing way it too safe by not taking the risks that will create something new in your life. Safe is nice, but it is definitely not the life of the most successful entrepreneurs, nor does it give you the chance to become more wise.

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