by Kia Jarmon
So here’s a just a tad bit of back history about me. I received the first Ingram Achiever Scholarship to attend Belmont University. So let’s fast forward. I received an email to attend a charity polo match where Orrin Ingram, the gracious scholarship donor, was playing. I was going to be meeting up with the other award recipients, many of whom I had never met. I was super cute and had on the highest heels in my closet and a nice Saturday afternoon, sun inspired dress. So here’s the deal. The country club was HUGE and it was all GRASS. If you aren’t a woman you probably won’t see the problem. I then went traipsing all up and down the field looking for my cabana. After walking around for what felt like forever, alone, I called the person at Belmont who was coordinating. Right after I reminded her who I was the craziest thing happened…I FELL! Well, I toppled because my shoes were stuck in the grass and when I went to move I went down. I was still on the phone and as she was telling me the cabana number I had fallen right in front of it. I also fell in front of several hundred people. The interesting part was that I wasn’t embarrassed, AT ALL. I was still on the phone with her, I took my shoes off, walked the rest of the way up the hill, and sat right on down. No one was in our cabana so I watched for a while from a distance and then got closer to the polo match.
So, Kia, what is the point of this story?! I realized that true life falling incident was representative of my experience being in business. I realized that as an entrepreneur there will be some falls, risks, and interesting moments but they all mean something and should be measured as a part of my success!
Here were the lessons.
1. Don’t be afraid to fall: If you are new to business you will soon experience several types of falls. Many people who know me know that I carry around a fabulous pillow that enables me to fall, roll, and still look graceful. There is indeed an art form to falling and picking yourself back up. As my story indicates kick off your shoes and take a deep seat into your business. It will make it a little easier to catch yourself on the way down.
2. Believe in timing: I could not believe that when I fell I would land right in front of the very place I needed to be. If you reflect on your falls over the years running your own business do you often find that you land right where you need to? I thought it was ironic that it happened that way and then within that 2 second topple over moment I had summed up my entire entrepreneurial existence. I believe in the timing of everything. If you are in tune to yourself and your business you will too. That client you have been stalking for months or that partnership you have been wishing for…they all happen in the right timing and that one fall does not indicate a failure, just falling one inch closer.
Not easily embarrassed: You will fall, literally and figuratively, many times. You will put your foot in your mouth and you will cringe at some of the ways that you act, at every level of your business. However, the good news is that it will all mean something. I have a permanent ‘embarrassment’ brush that allows me to dust myself off pretty quickly, just like a lent brush, in those moments. You, of course, won’t (hopefully) keep making the same mistakes but they are going to happen. Allow them to happen as they may and rather than reflecting on the embarrassment, reflect on the lesson(s) learned.
3. Don’t look around: When babies fall the first thing they do is look around. If you baby them they immediately cry and receive the attention they deserve. If you say “you’re ok let’s get up” they don’t seem to have the same reaction. I fell, acted like it was a part of my ‘act’ and kept it pushing. I didn’t look around for responses or for anyone to feel sorry for me but instead I jumped up. In business you don’t always have the luxury of having someone kiss your boo boo’s and tell you it’s okay. Many times you have to be that for yourself. Don’t seek others attention, instead keep your eye focused on what you were looking at before you fell. You might just fall right where you should!
And here’s another lesson for good measure!
4. Be a risk taker: You must walk, climb, swim, and fly in areas that would terrify most. I have a huge fear of water but I have been white water rafting and even jumped out in the middle of the river. I have been indoor rock climbing because the adrenaline at 25 or so feet in the air resembles that of running a business. I have been ziplining 80 feet across and several hundred feet above and I would do it two more times. Why do I do all of these things? Because they give me the opportunity to understand gasping for air, clutching business deals, and the excitement of my successes. My day to day operations running The MEPR Agency can sometimes feel like I am in a triathlon.
Have you fallen in business, life, or your career? What did you learn from it?
Need help catching yourself on a fabulous pillow? Shoot me an email for Brand Mapping or Lunch & Learn with Kia Jarmon. You will leave confident enough to fall, just like me, and not experience embarrassment!
Kia Jarmon is a brand strategist and PR coach with boutique public relations firm, The MEPR Agency. She speaks, blogs,mentors, and is soon to be an author. You can find more information at her personal brand site, www.KiaJarmon.com