Sunday, early morning, Day 3 of a 3-day event. I’m tired and I skulk into the back row, less than enthusiastic about listening to another full day of speakers.
Until RuDee sits next to me. I take it as fate and make my move. I slip her a simple note, one of those ‘Circle YES or NO’ question sheets you pass when asking a boy to go out with you in the third grade.
Only I don’t want to go out with her, I want to hear a story. A grand tale, lunch in a sweet little NYC cafe the price.
It was the day after RuDee’s epic question, during which RuDee revealed that she had sold every piece of furniture in her living room to attend this entrepreneurial event and pitch her business to the legendary Russell Simmons.
This woman brought down the house with her clarity of focus. Her willingness to sell her earthly possessions and then come thousands of miles to get herself a business meeting with Russell Simmons.
I wanted to hear MORE from her, and I wanted to ask what she was feeling. I was standing on a 40-foot platform in an ill-fitting swimsuit, ready to dive straight into six inches of water, sideshow-style — only I wanted to slip inside RuDee’s brain.
She got the meeting. She had just won the hearts of 300 business-women from the Q&A microphone. She was in NYC, she was networking like a fiend and taking notes like mad, she was higher than a kite on the winds of our support.
“What did your Mom say!!??” I asked, and RuDee smiled-but-sort-of-half-shrugged, like…she was happy, but she was also like, ‘Damn straight, we sold our couch and end tables and you did what you said you were going to do.’
RuDee’s Mom was thrilled to hear her daughter’s news, BUT EXPECTED NOTHING LESS.
Of COURSE the daughter who sold her furniture to pursue her dream would deliver the business card, get the meeting, and close the deal. Anything less wouldn’t be worthy of sitting at home on phone books, watching the evening news while waiting for her return.
A little phone-book-sitting-upon is inevitable for loved ones when you’re in business.
Your lover sees a little less of you than he’d like (literally and metaphorically). Your kids spend more time with the TV or the babysitter or Grandma. Your friends accept another “No thanks, I’m working” reply to dinner invitations, nightclub outings, and spontaneous roadtrips.
The people around you do their best to make space for your entrepreneurial dreams, and they’ll sit on phone books because they love you.
Those people? The ones who are willing to be uncomfortable and pushed aside and forced to stare at hideous bright yellow ads on your behalf? They deserve nothing less than your BEST effort. (And not that ‘Yah yah yah, my best effort is on Facebook right now, honest!’ effort.)
Please. Please don’t let them down.