Last weekend, I attended the World Domination Summit, an annual event for the “unconventional” held in Portland, OR— spearheaded by Portland writer and world traveler, Chris Guillebeau. There were thousands of people attending from all over the world, as well as practical workshops, and main stage speakers, including Bob (of multi-million dollar Bob’s Red Mill Empire) and Gretchen Rubin (author of The Happiness Project).
One of the most powerful moments for me was also one of the most uncomfortable.
It was seeing how Danielle LaPorte, who led an informal Q&A to a packed room of entrepreneurs and soul-searchers, responded to a challenging question. The question happened to be the first in a 90-minute Q&A, where she invited the audience to ask her about anything (an inspiring and courageous act in itself).
If you are not familiar with Danielle LaPorte yet, it is only a matter of time. Danielle is an in demand author, speaker, and now she is producing her own magazine.
So what did the first person ask her that was so challenging?
The first person asked,
“Will you be my mentor?”
There was a palpable shift as the audience reacted to this question.
Danielle was right there to answer a question and share her thoughts about how to live a fulfilled life, or how to run a successful business, and instead of taking advantage of that, this audience member wanted a piece of her outside of the Q&A. Ugh.
“Will you be my mentor?”
“No,” Danielle said with an authoritative but kind tone.
“Why?” the attendee persisted.
“Well, first I don’t know you…” Danielle said.
“Can we go to coffee sometime? The attendee continued.
The room felt tense.
It was at this moment that Danielle acknowledged that we all had a “teaching moment” on our hands. She proceeded to kindly, and with humor, unpack the whole situation:
She used this challenging moment to talk about the need for us all to set boundaries, especially when we are in demand. She expressed her desire to pick up her son from school every day at 3pm, and never lose sight of what’s most important. She said that in order to live the life that is best for her and for her larger audience that means saying “no” too many things, and one of those things is mentoring anyone. It was really amazing to see how she stood in her power and turned a challenging situation into a learning opportunity for everybody.
In fact, this may have been one of her finest moments in the entire Q&A.
Why did this make such an impression on me?
Well, first I was inspired by the way Danielle didn’t let one challenging individual throw her.
Even more, I was struck by the way the potentially worst moment turned into the best moment.
So often we are scared to start our marketing, or our program, or our book, or our speaking because we are afraid of what will happen if we get that one proverbial “heckler” and we don’t know what to do.
But do we consider the fact that responding to a challenge might provoke our most shining moment? Do we dwell on the fact that handling the unexpected humanly, not perfectly, can actually bring our clients and “fans” closer?
- What have you been afraid of starting, or taking to the next level because of fear?
- Have you ever come back stronger from a challenging moment in your life or business? How did you do it?
I want to hear from you! And "share the love," if this blog might inspire anyone you know.
To doing even more of the work you love,
-Danielle (Louise Ross)