What it Means to be Brave

Misti Burmeister
April 9, 2009 — 2,304 views  
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There I was, just two weeks from the event, terrified I might fail and suddenly unclear as to why I would give myself just six weeks to put on an event such as this. Was I crazy? How was I supposed to leverage the media exposure I just got, capitalize on the new speaking opportunities, keep up with all my research, plan for my new executive coaching clients and somehow manage to promote an event? I was ready to be taken away in the wagon - you know, to the loony bin. My reputation was on the line in so many ways, and I wasn't sure how I could possibly pull it all off.  

As I was going on and on about my fears, my partner looked at me and said, "Cancel the event!"

"What? Cancel the event? No way!"  

"Alright, fine," she said "Then focus only on the event."  

"What? The event isn't putting any money into my pocket, and I need to remain focused on bringing in new business."  

"Let this be your lesson, Misti," she said. "Focus on this event, do the very best you can, and when it's done, refocus."  

While I highly disliked her advice, I knew she was right. So, I focused all my attention on making "Be A Part Of The Solution" a success. But what was success? Of course, crazy people like me - you know, the ones who only do things in extremes - insisted that success meant selling out the event. And, by the way, we would have people there from the local and national media. Nothing like shooting for the stars! 

While we didn't quite sell out the event that evening, nor did we have national media in the room, it was a raving success. We had nearly 60 people in the room and one person from the local press. The fact he was there to increase business for the Washington Business Journal didn't matter; he was there, and I knew we would make a difference in his life that evening. Perhaps he will even share what he got out of the event with just the right people in our local press.  

What really made the event a massive success had absolutely nothing to do with the number of people in the room or whether the media was there. Would Matt Voorhees, Debbie Rieger, Casey Golden or Ken Gills (our super-accomplished panelists) have had a chance to share their own trials and tribulations - and inspire an audience who needed inspiration now more than ever? No. Would Vernice Armour have had the opportunity to share her stories and motivate this group into action the way she did? No. Would the audience have had a chance to really share with each other the way they did? No. Would our sponsors have gotten the exposure they did? No.  

Would I have learned to look past my fears and keep moving forward? Not in this way. Would I have seen so many people re-inspired to live without paralyzing fear about the troublesome economy? No.  

Would I have learned the importance of focus? No. Would I have learned the difference just one person, with a dream to make a contribution to her community can make? Not like this.  

Who knows if six weeks was really enough time to put this event together - if perhaps giving myself more time would have resulted in an even bigger audience or, perhaps, a calmer me. Probably not. As it turns out, because I stuck with it and learned through it, this event introduced just the right people to me at just the right time, and I learned a lot along the way.  

So, what does it mean to be brave? Trusting yourself - even when that seems like the worst thing you could do. Being brave is about being generous - with yourself and those around you. It's releasing the, "What if I fail?" attitude - and choosing to ask, "What am I learning?" It's choosing life; all the rest is simply an illusion. One day, one step, one lesson, one journey at a time.  

What a few of our participants had to say:  

"Your event was literally a stream of inspiration, and I thank you so much for facilitating this worthwhile, inspirational event! I hope to apply the morsels of wisdom to my life and personal evolution." 

"Your panel was terrific and each said something profound that either took me back to something I already knew and had buried or offered something new for me to focus on."

"You, the panel, the contributors and the audience were all wonderful. Thank you again for the opportunity to network and meet so many talented and conscientious people. I will cherish and share your book with my colleagues."

Misti Burmeister

Inspirion Inc.

Burmeister brings more than a decade of professional experience to her work with diverse clientele, including organizations like AT&T, UPS, Marriott International, Choice Hotels, U.S. Army and Navy, Wal-Mart and Johnson & Johnson Company. As a result of her hands-on coaching, clients have seen significant improvements in employee retention, ultimately contributing to their bottom lines. One organization saw a 90 percent reduction in its turnover rate! Her timely contributions are catching the attention of the media, businesses and even the government. She's been quoted in the Washington Business Journal, The Washington Post and The Washington Times. Combining humor with hard-hitting information delivered with "an amazing amount of energy," she's earned acclaim for providing real, quantitative and effective steps that empower and bring out the best in multi-generational organizations "“ immediately.