I am writing this a few days after returning from the NALP Annual Education Conference in Boston. For all the years I’ve been attending conferences, mostly as a speaker, not only was this my first time attending this one, it was also my first time attending one as an exhibitor. 

And, what an exhilarating experience! One that almost didn’t happen.   

When the invitation to attend was extended to me, there was no doubt this was an incredible opportunity. 

In part because the majority of my speaking engagements are for law firms. This conference is attended by law firms, legal recruiters, and law schools. 

In other words, this is where my “people” hang out! So, it’s the perfect environment to deepen existing relationships and to make new connections. 

But, I hesitated. Why? Because the invitation was extended just three weeks before I needed to hop on a flight. And as someone who likes to plan, this short-notice kicked up all of my financial insecurities and fears prompting a question you likely ask yourself from time-to-time, as well: 

Can I really afford this, right now?  

It’s not that I didn’t have the money. But, I am a planner and I feel more comfortable when I’ve had time to prepare for large expenditures. 

Plus, due to past experiences, I tend to manage my cashflow with this question in the back of mind, “What if I don’t get a new client this month?” As a result, I always endeavor to protect my cash reserves. 

And because of tax time and other obligations, the usual ebbs and flows of money, and the ever-present nature of uncertainty in any business, I was initially afraid to spend the (unplanned) money in order to pursue this opportunity.

Boldness Unleashed!

Thankfully, I didn’t succumb to this fear.

One of the many reasons I believe I am so effective and good at what I do is because I don’t approach my work as if I am perched on a pedestal. I, too, am navigating the intricacies of money, business, and life much like my coaching clients, audience members, and those who engage with my content. 

In other words, much like you. That’s why I can relate when you share your fears. Especially when we get a chance to connect directly and explore what triggers them. 

My initial reaction to this opportunity was to only “see” what I couldn’t do or shouldn’t do. 

That’s what fear tends to do; it often limits your perspective and what you deem is possible.

And while I know fear is a natural emotion, I also know that in this instance, it was the least useful reaction to have. 

In Pivotal Moments, Do This 

During pivotal moments like this, I’ve learned to create a process for making the choices ahead of me

In this case that meant: 

Being resourceful (and lucky). All of the conference related hotels were sold-out, so I had to research other options. I found the perfect place – aka my kind of place, in the perfect neighborhood! And, it was within walking distance to the convention center. (If you ever need a hotel in Boston, consider the Newbury Guest House.) 

I also found an extremely reasonable flight that enabled me to travel in comfort. 

Being decisive. I committed and accepted the invitation only after securing my hotel and flight (in that order). Once that was in place, I could prioritize all the other moving parts! 

Being creative. Given the short lead time, I opted not to have traditional branded swag in my booth, like bags, coffee mugs, and tchotchkes. 

Instead, I created a 5-part audio series that was designed to give conference attendees a look into how I address the intersection of money, business, and life through a cultural lens. 

People who stopped by my booth could scan the QR code and download my private podcast. This, along with a copy and poster board of my book, were a hit! 

Being intentional. I split my time between being at my booth and sitting in on sessions. I knew which ones I wanted to attend, as well as who on the panel I wanted to personally greet.

Being present. By knowing, in advance, when I’d be at my booth vs. attending a session, I was able to be fully present and engage accordingly in the spaces I was in.

Granted, none of the steps I took to pull everything together in three weeks were complex in the actual undertaking of them. 

But the emotions I confronted along the way were illuminating. 

Having a decision-making process is what helped me to grow ever-more confident that I was making the right choice to use my money in this way…right now. 

It also put me in position to show up, genuinely, in a spirit of abundance (rather than of lack). 

Sometimes fear shows up to act as a guardrail to prevent you from doing something foolish and/or unhelpful.

Other times, it shows up with an invitation to embrace a new opportunity, confront your fear triggers head-on, and tap into your creativity

In the process, you get a chance to experience a power that comes from daring to be bold – about your abilities, confidence, and conviction. In short, your boldness shines.  

Had I left my fear unchecked and acted solely based upon it, I would have missed out on an absolutely incredible opportunity. One that enabled me to experience several delightful moments and truly filled my heart with joy. (I wrote about that on LinkedIn and Instagram.)

And, I was reminded of something that you, too, may need to be reminded of:

When something makes you feel most afraid, sometimes that is precisely when you need to lean into your boldness and choose accordingly! 

I’ve shared the time when I chose boldness over fear and it turned out to be the better choice for me. When was that time for you? 

If you can’t quickly recall one, be on the lookout for that unexpected email or phone call that may set things in motion. 🙂

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