Excelerating My Toolbox

For several years I used to work with a great direct sales (aka network marketing) company. At the time they had a wide selection of super high-quality nutritional supplements, as well as some very unique detox products. My mentor in the company used to frequently compare our company to others that focused on one or two products. Those products were amazing (like mangosteen juice or healthy chocolates), and yet, because the product line of each company was so limited, their impact on people's lives was also limited.

Greg, my mentor, used to compare such companies to a tool box with only one or two tools in it. A hammer is fantastic - when you are dealing with nails. When you are dealing with screws or staples or measurements or things to be cut, that hammer won't do much for you. The company we were working with, on the other hand, was like having a full tool box at your disposal, on account of the robust product line. I thought of this analogy this morning, while pondering my life (a common pastime). I have gone from being a solopreneur, single mother of a small child, to a small business owner (meaning having employees) who is a member of a women's mastermind. At home I am navigating being part of a relationship, while being a mother to a medium-sized (with large opinions) child. In the last several years partnerships, both personal and professional, have become a focal point of my world. Guess what? My hammer and a nail doesn't cut it any more. I have to go to the store and buy me some tools. Quickly. The challenge is that you just can't pick up these kind of tools at Home Depot. They

come from the templates of our youth, from our experiences, and from intentional personal development. I have discovered that my hammer (which I have to admit is "I'm gonna leave yo' *@#) is just not effective in dealing with the variety of situations that have begun to arise at home and at work.

(photo hiverhq.com)

For some jobs the wrench, or the screwdriver, or even the tape measure would work better. The challenge is to first acquire the tools and then figure out when and how to use them.

One of the most valuable things I got from that company that I worked with (besides a couple of years of truly stellar health) was a commitment to personal development. The leaders in the company put a lot of emphasis on personal development, drilling into us that we simply could not do anything better than what we were already doing, or have anything more than what we already have, without first becoming greater. My mentors and role models taught me the value of investing in myself. I want to encourage you, that if you have any leadership position at all (and yes! that does include being a parent) to make it a priority to build your toolbox. There are loads of resources out there for personal growth. I am going to tell you about one that is coming up soon, is local, woman-centered, and featuring Govinda's Catering. (ding!) It is called Excelerate Experience. It was designed by women, for women - women who prefer to take the quickest route to success in the company of others, rather than climbing the long, dusty mountain road, alone. This event will feature seven different speakers, all women, and all experts in their field - including Olalah Njenga, the CEO of YellowWood Group. YellowWood Group has provided their marketing strategy magic to hundreds of clients, including UNC, Wake Tech, and NCCU. Olalah herself is an advisor to the Governor on Small Business affairs. (Can you tell I am excited that this powerhouse of a woman is going to be tasting our Lava Cakes?!) I can't wait to be part of this event because I know from experience that by hearing from those who have achieved success, by talking with them, by walking with them, that we come closer to realizing our own value. And I don't know about y'all, but I for sure could use some more tools in my belt.

(photo ExcelerateExperience.com)

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