What would you try if you knew you couldn’t fail?
December 4, 2016
I’ve been asking my clients this question since I started coaching, but I had never intentionally answered it myself. I didn’t realize it at the time, but I started coaching as my original answer to that question. Now I have an updated answer, and I think it’s a pretty good story.
It started one Thursday night when I was out celebrating Alpharetta’s technology community. It’s probably no surprise to anyone that I love to network, particularly with people involved in technology. So, as usual, I met several interesting new people that night. People who presented new opportunities for me to expand my coaching reach.
But my updated answer to what I’d do if I couldn’t fail didn’t come to me through a stranger; instead it was triggered by a conversation with Olivia, one of my favorite female tech entrepreneurs. We were talking about the things I’d been working on: coaching, a tech start-up that I had left recently, and freelance writing. Olivia is always supportive and interested in what I’m doing. And she’s never afraid to get in my face – which is what it takes sometimes to get my undivided attention.
The question that made me stop and think.
That Thursday night Olivia was incensed that I wasn’t working on something big of my own. Like, in my face incensed. As in, “You have to do your own app or project or something big that’s yours. What are you waiting for?”
And I really heard her. It was a “When the student is ready the teacher will appear” kind of moment. Since I have so much respect for her and she felt so strongly about this, I kept thinking about what she had asked me. And that Saturday I asked myself the critical, life-changing-if-you-let-it, question: “Becky, what would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?”
I knew the answer.
And, boom, I knew the answer. I would create a tech school just for women, right here in the Atlanta ‘burbs. And I would focus on reaching stay-at-home moms and career changers who are looking for meaningful, strategic work opportunities but are intimidated at the idea of entering the technology field.
I would make it happen by using the wisdom and knowledge I have acquired over the last 33 years working in and around technology, what I know about re-entering the workforce from doing it myself after 12 years at home, all of my connections in the tech world, and all of my coaching skills to help these women embrace the opportunities for growth and meaningful, lucrative work that are out there right now in technology.
It’s all about the opportunities.
I would help them acquire an understanding of the depth and breadth of opportunities in technology – beyond the typical tech jobs and fields that most people know about. Then I would help them figure out what tech field appeals to them. And I would provide opportunities to explore those careers through talks and job-shadowing. There would be mentors and face-to-face support weekly and online support all of the time. And, at the end of the program, there would be internship opportunities because right here, in the northern suburbs of Atlanta, there are many, many career opportunities in technology.
That’s my answer. Plus here are the even more reasons the tech school is my answer. Creating a learning opportunity for women matches my own passions because I believe in 3 things: education, technology, and empowerment. I particularly believe in using technology to empower people to reach new levels of success wherever they are in life. And I know that women understand the power of face-to-face connection, being in the same room, reading facial expressions, body language, and feeling that energy we all put out – which is where I love to coach.
Women want face-to-face connection and support.
How do I know that women want that face-to-face connection? Because I had already started along this path. In September I created a Meetup (an online platform for creating face-to-face groups) for women in transition named Next Chapter for Women. Women want connection and they want to be face-to-face so they spend 30 minutes, or an hour, or an hour and a half driving to our meetings. Women want to be around other women for support and connection.
Then I started sharing my idea with different people (women and men), and everyone I have talked to has loved the concept and recognized the need for this exact opportunity for women. They even talk about this particular group of women as an untapped resource. I cannot even describe what it feels like to present an idea and have people universally get it and love it.
The Technology Conservatory for Women*
Last week, at our monthly Next Chapter meeting, I presented the idea of the tech school, which I call The Technology Conservatory for Women. These women are in my target market, and they loved it. Three of them have already signed up for the first cohort.
So, there you have it. A respected peer confronted me over not living up to my full potential. I used that conversation as fuel to move forward. I dared to imagine what I would do if I couldn’t fail. Then I risked sharing my idea with other people.
And now I’m making it happen – with help from my favorite people, including my late husband, Bo (who got me started in technology), my sister, my oldest friend (as in since we were 8 years old), my friends in the tech community, and the people I’ve connected with while networking. I’m excited. I will not fail.
What’s your answer?
Stay tuned. For now, I’m going to leave you with a question. What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail? Your answer might be around your health, or your relationships, or your finances, or your next step.
I’d love to hear your answer! If you’re receiving this via my email list, hit reply and let me know. If you’re reading this on my website, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org, or let me know on my Facebook page.
Go on. Give it a shot. What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
*In the dictionary, the 2nd definition of a conservatory is a glass building with a glass ceiling where living things are nurtured so they can flourish.