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Ordinary People Taking Action
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The first time I mentioned I was seriously starting a consulting practice was to a group of friends at a holiday party in December. By January, I was fully immersed in the chaos that comes with leaving a job and starting a business — not to mention keeping a handle on my life. Well, trying.
After dropping the kids off at school, I ran into one of my friends from the party who said “Amber, I can’t believe you’re really starting a business.” I smiled and said, “I know, it’s exciting! Public launch is in early February.”
With a look of shock that she tried to play off as excitement, she said, “You’re going to launch a business in just 6 weeks?”
Someone outside, looking in on my life, would have absolutely witnessed a commotion over the last six weeks. After all, I have been up until after midnight most nights. Learning tax laws. Getting business insurance. Networking like crazy. Sending literally hundreds of emails to my web designer. Posting on social media for the “big launch”. It’s been a frenzy of activity.
My house is a disaster. Dirty laundry is piled up everywhere. While not that unusual, because none of us love folding laundry, typically the piles are at least clean. At one point, the dust accumulating on my shelves was so thick I was forced to take a break and finally tackle it. I’m on my phone several hours a day – time spent actually talking to people. Business development requires a lot of talking, which I love.
So, yes, from afar it would seem that it took me six weeks to launch a business.
What remains hidden, though, is the forty years leading up to the launch.
Almost from the minute I was born, my family moved around. That would lead me to learn how to talk to new people and make friends quickly.
I learned resilience at an early age. The worst time to learn resilience is in middle school when you are the new kid and trying out for the basketball team. I played at my previous school and was 5’9. I should have made the team. I didn’t.
I learned courage when I asked out two different boys and was rejected by them both. After all, what girl really asks out a boy in high school anyway? Yep, I did. That took courage.
Commitment found its way to me as a swimmer. Any person on a swim team knows that is the true test. Early morning practices. Dry land and water training. It takes dedication.
I honed my customer focus at my first “real job” working for Nordstrom. Back in the 90s, Nordstrom was the gold star for customer service. In many ways they still are. I learned, right from the beginning, to make the customer the top priority. That lesson wouldn’t be truly appreciated until much later in my career.
My role at Intel made me fall in love with training.
Microsoft taught me that I love to build things.
Insights proved to me that I have strong presence, can read a room, and am skilled at facilitation. It would also be the first time I had to leave a job I love. So many lessons learned.
During a session I was facilitating for Insights at Microsoft, I met a person who would change my life forever. In 2010, Dan told me I had a talent for writing and set up my first blog, Thinking Words. I purchased two URLs that year, Thinking Words and Thinking People Consulting.
Whole Foods was where I learned how to love – not just my family, but also my colleagues. I learned that there really isn’t a difference between me at work and me at home. I learned to bring my whole self to work. To be vulnerable. To build a team, you must build trust. Relationships are the foundation for everything.
Amazon taught me how to truly take risks. Because it was confidential, I literally had no idea what I would be doing when I said yes to the job. It turned out I was joining the innovation team for Amazon Go. I learned operations – true operations. Business savvy was something I quickly picked up on there. This position also solidified one fact in my mind: I am a builder.
The Woodmark Group brought me to the place of being a consultant again, without my own practice. I tested everything I knew about building infrastructure, creating processes and influencing change. I was reminded how very hard these three things are to do.
So, it didn’t take me six weeks to build a business. It took me just over forty years.
Find your passion.
Follow your dream.
Do what you love.
And, remember, it doesn’t always happen overnight.
When in doubt, I turn to this quote on a bracelet that a friend gave me for my 40th birthday: Show up. Dive in. Stay at it.
Thinking People Consulting.
Business License 1.1.18
Public Launch 2.5.18
It took way longer than six weeks.
Every step has been completely worth it, even when I didn’t know where that step would lead.