You enter an elevator, not paying much attention to the person already on board. You push the button for your floor and as you step back you notice them…it’s your favorite author.
You gush some sort of silly sounding, “I love your work, I’ve always wanted to write my own book” and blush. It is at this point that your all-time favorite agent of change turns to you and says, “I can give you one piece of advice on becoming a bestselling author. What do you want to know?”
You are caught completely off guard. Your brain goes blank; your mouth goes dry as you just stand there staring dumbfounded at them. They smile and say, “OK, well keep at it” and they exit the elevator.
The doors close and you come back to life. "I blew it, how could I completely muck up this once in a lifetime opportunity" are the thoughts pounding in your head. Why did this opportunity slip through your fingers unrealized? Because you were not prepared. And it happens more often than you realize.
I was a break out session speaker recently for International Women’s Day here in St. Louis. My topic was women growing their business. Before the presentation started, I talked to a dozen or so women in the crowd, asking each of them the same questions: Why are you here, what do you need to know in order to grow/make money in your business, how can these speakers assist you? And the answers I received back were all the same genre: I don’t know…I’m just here to “soak” things up…I was just curious.
There is a mindset shift I teach all of my coaching clients: if you want better answers from life, you need to ask better questions. All of these attendees were experiencing some sort of difficulty in their business. How do I know that? It’s life! The corporate woman could be having a challenge with an employee, the entrepreneur wondering when to hire a team member, both of them wanting to know how to make business and family time work together. Just like our elevator example though, they stood there unsure of what to ask when offered the chance to improve the quality of their life. Let’s make sure life does not catch you by surprise with these 3 items:
1. The Question.
You have 5 areas of your life where you spend the most mental time: finances, health, relationships, career, potential (this last area covers hobbies, places you want to go, things you want to do such as write a book).
Now think about someone you admire in each of these areas; it could be a celebrity or maybe the local standout that you respect. If you could ask them 1 question about their success, the same accomplishment that seems to elude you, what would that question be? Keep that tucked away in your mind, at the ready. Anytime you come across someone who is similar to the Success Star you admire, you have your life enhancing question(s) ready.
2. The Presentation.
When you are offered a question/answer time at an event, there is a way to present your question and yourself for maximum impact. If no microphones are available, you want to stand a bit sideways where you are facing the speaker(s) as well as the audience. Introduce yourself as well as your tagline before you ask your question. An example would be: “I’m Dawn Ferguson, Business Coach and Hypnotist. I work with women entrepreneurs to stop their bad habits and bad beliefs of undercharging and over-deliverying so they can step into their 6-figure and beyond business. My question is __________.”
3. The Follow-up.
Be prepared to follow up with the speaker(s) who answered your question. A hand written thank sent by snail mail will place you above everyone else they met that day. In your note include an abbreviated form of your question to spark their memory of you. If it was someone from out of town, offer to be of any assistance they might need, the next time they visit. Also remember to include your business card. And be sincere.
It comes down to this; if you want to build your business faster, easier, better, quicker, then you need to be prepared to ask the needed questions of the mentors, teachers and coaches who have gone before you and have achieved what you desire. Or you can just show up and absorb what the world gives you. Magnificence or mediocrity, the choice is yours.
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