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The Facade

Updated: Jun 11

I was just meeting with another entrepreneur and we agreed we would tell it like it is with each other with no judgement. She shared some of her struggles—some fairly recent. What was interesting is nobody would have guessed because she is seen as successful and promotes that image to get clients. That really hit home with me. Many of us struggled during Covid, so no sympathy there. For me, my tough times started two years prior. After 25 years with the same agent, the two years prior to Covid she didn't produce enough bookings to support a teenager... living at home. So I fired her. I was faced with having to rebuild my business from the ground up during a time where very little was happening in the events industry—I primarily speak at conferences. I never let on how bad things got because as a motivational speaker, we're supposed to have it all figured out. It's not the first time I faced adversity in my business life. We had to close one of our retail stores when I owned Waves and Wheels Surf Centers with my brothers. It was the same thing—we had to spin it to not look like a failure, even though a series of bad choices led to the decline of that store. As my business improved, I am more cognizant of saying, "we" when I suggest something on stage. I often now say, "We teach what we need to learn." And, I am more willing to admit when things haven't always worked out. Admitting to making mistakes and having to comeback from the brink is good for the audience to hear and good for me, too.

Social media sometimes gives a false impression of how well things are going for a person (by design) and that's fine. But comparing ourselves to those ideals does damage. My hope is this post gives people permission to admit when things are not going great and to ask for help. To know that failure isn't permanent and that the lessons learned when things go awry are invaluable. Maybe most important of all is to own it. I blamed my agent for her failures but the truth is I should have seen it coming, fired her sooner, and been more proactive in actively promoting and selling myself all along.

I'm meeting my friend again next month and I can't wait to share my hits and misses. I'm happy to hear from anyone who reads this to talk through anything (no judgement) and see if we can work through it.

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