Find your voice, find your opportunities

I attend a lot of webinars, mostly not very interesting unless you are an accountant. However, I do manage to fit it a few others. I recently attended a BNI webinar presented by Stacy Bernal where she referred to a talk, she had given entitled:

“The Confessions of a recovering nobody”.

I think that a lot of people will be able to identify with this. You can always Google her.

Anyway, the point she made was that she was mixed race, her parents divorced and she grew up in a very poor neighborhood and even though obviously quite talented, made a lot of bad choices including getting pregnant at 16, putting the child up for adoption and leaving school early. She effectively marginalized herself, working in bars and scratching a living. In her 30s she finally took control, culminating in running a marathon and has never looked back. She is now a motivational speaker, on the boards of various prestigious organisations, and married with 2 children.

I have come across so many people who have initially lost their way and then got themselves back on track. I think it has a lot to do with their true nature overcoming the programming, intentional or unintentional, that they received as they were growing up. It goes to show that you should never write off anyone. However it happens, this kind of transformation is good to see.

Stacy Bernal had four confessions. One was that “discomfort is the cost of the privilege of finding and using your voice”. How many times have you let that feeling of discomfort stop you from speaking your mind or taking that opportunity? I think everyone is guilty of that at some time or another. It is sometimes hard to be authentic and, on top of that, be prepared to share your thoughts when you are around a table with other people who, on the face of it, seem to know so much more. But do they? Have they had your experiences?

Anyway, talking of BNI, I have probably mentioned that we are members of BNI. BNI is a networking and referral organisation. We have been members for nearly 6 years. I personally attend a meeting every week with nearly 50 other business owners from diverse business backgrounds. You make all sorts of interesting connections. If you think this is something that might interest you get in to touch and I can point you in the direction of a meeting near you.

So, it is a place for making connections. I meet other business owners and we do business. But it is surprising what else comes out of that sort of dynamic environment. Let me tell you about one that might surprise you.

Around the table we have Kenny Smith who is co-founder of the band Torridon. He is the drive and determination behind the band. On guitars and vocals, Kenny’s energetic performances contribute to  the atmospheres that Torridon create with their live sets. Kenny has two businesses, Klass Clothing and IRN Security. By the way if you don’t know Torridon, Google them or follow this link.

We also have other local musical talent. Andrew Still is a trained Architect but a number of years ago decided to move into commerce and now owns and runs James Dow Limited supplying office furniture and supplies throughout the highlands from their base in Inverness. He used to have a tag line “putting lead in your pencil” but these days it is “your office designed and delivered” putting his architectural background to good use. You can sense an artistic background.

Our other talent is Amy Mullen who runs Stagecoach Theatre Arts in Inverness. Now, her background is dance but she is multi-talented.  She has also started Fitkidz Academy, creating “happy healthy kids of the future”.

Where I am going with all this is that through the connections made at BNI a band has been formed, Algorithm (I know it should have been Algorhythm) and their first single has been produced and published written by Andrew and sung by Amy with a host of local business talent in support. Check out the video.

Now, when I mention BNI, will you think of it as a stuffy boring business club or a dynamic environment where anything can happen.

Are there environments that you shy away from? Are there situations when you prefer to stay silent, inside your comfort zone. Where are all the opportunities in this world … they are outside of your comfort zone. So, you know where you must go, whether or not you are comfortable.

What opportunities are you missing? Step out of your comfort zone, find your voice, find opportunity.

Alan Long

The Long Partnership

07770 738770



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