I was out one Saturday doing what I normally find myself doing on the weekend-volunteering my time to activities that mean a lot to me. At one point, while I was out, I began to have a conversation with someone in my ‘circle of influence’. Now, I want to note that I really don’t have many people in my circle of influence.

Within many of the conversations we were having that day, we happen to stumble onto the area of my business. In the conversation, it was expressed how they noticed my social media posts and my ‘LIVE’ content and that their observation of such activity was that I was simply playing around on social media; that this content won’t lead to any business. This observation also included the remark that this was the reason that they hadn’t paid for my services all this time, because I didn’t appear to be serious in my intent to run a business. Our brief conversation-on this topic-ultimately led to their offer to share with me some information on a ‘leader’ in this field so that I could review their work and business for comparison in my business.

Now in a brief moment I was able to calmly but quickly take an ‘out-of-body’ review of this situation and with poise I was able to react in a way that was so not how I was raised. If I were a cartoon, you would have been able to read a lot of symbols in my thinking cloud before I reacted.

I then responded, “sure, I would love to review the information”.  

See, I didn’t get angry, defensive, perplexed, crazy, or irrational. I didn’t even begin to decipher whether these comments were factual or opinion. I did, however, get quiet….and not because I was hurt or upset, but because in that moment, I realized I was doing a lot of things, I mean A LOT of things all wrong. In that moment, I was able to appreciate, this person’s candid honesty regarding their observation and recognize that I needed to make some changes and quick.

I am a very observant person. I truly believe I exhibit the full talent of God’s blessing of discernment. And in this discernment I am truly able, most times, to self-reflect on situations in order to identify how I contributed to a specific set of events and/or what I can do or should have done differently.

So let me share with you the lessons I learned from this conversation……

~I needed to stop giving my services away for free. I remember a video I watched from my now new secret mentor, (meaning she does not know she is my mentor, and I secretly stalk her social media pages and website for jewels of professional growth) Nicole Walters. She said, “stop doing free”. When you do free you are borrowing funds from your legacy. Yes, profound isn’t it?!

~I need to be intentional with my actions. I will either volunteer or work. Volunteering ‘will’ no longer include those activities that are listed as a part of my consulting services. Working means I am getting paid for the services I am providing. Now I want you to note that I have been told many times by this person in my ‘SOI’ how knowledgeable and valuable I am in my field of business.

~I am no longer afraid to say, “NO”.

~I will model myself after one of my friends who is a hairstylist. I have never received a call from her saying, “girl I saw your hair today, you really need a cut and condition. Let me come by and cut your hair”, while expecting not to get paid, but to simply volunteer her services indefinitely. NOPE it ain’t gonna happen, and guess what I don’t expect it to either. Instead, when I know I need a cut and condition, I go to her website, schedule an appointment, allow my credit card number to be stored, because that is the requirement, and I show up expecting to pay for her services. Hell, sometimes I show up with a list of ‘asks’ and I don’t even know what my bill will be, but guess what, I am prepared to pay for the ‘ask’.

~I learned that I will not exchange my bank account for a friend, and I don’t care who it is. And this is not to be mean.

~The biggest lesson I learned that day was, that I needed to fire my CEO and hire a new one. As the founder and business owner, that meant ME! I was exhibiting all of the wrong skills to be the CEO of my business; hell I had the wrong CEO skills for any business. I was not performing, and performing well wasn’t even an option; I was simply not performing.

Accepting this last lesson wasn’t easy. Because I had to first accept that I was in fact, ‘playing’ in my business. I wasn’t working seriously nor intentionally, and I had to own it. So as you can now agree, that conversation was right on time. If I had decided to respond differently, I would not have received the blessing that God intended for me to receive. I needed to see that, ‘me’, ‘I’, needed to make an improvement in my professional life. I also believed the personal side of my life also required some upgrading.

Now, don’t begin to believe that in the blink of an eye I turned into this overachieving, outperforming CEO and that my business is now booming. NO. I recognized that in order for me to become the CEO that my business required, it would take some time. It will require a lot of work, hard work. I also had to tell myself every day that, it may not happen tomorrow or even the next day. And it is important to embrace this honesty, but if not I begin to ‘play’ again. This is the frustrating part of being an entrepreneur-not seeing the financial fruits of your hard labor immediately. But know that I am committed!

I am committed to becoming that CEO that my business needs so that I can leave a legacy.