Gratitude for My Teachers, Mentors, and Gurus

ThanksgivingAs we approach the Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S., I’ve been feeling very grateful for all the teachers, mentors, and supporters who have helped – and continue to help – me push my fledgling business slowly to the edge of the nest where it can take off and fly on its own.

My Gratitude List

First, I have to acknowledge Raymond Aaron for getting me to face the fact that I wasn’t getting anywhere “trying to start a business” on my own!  Raymond Aaron also convinced me that I should – and COULD – write a book to establish authority in my field.  (My book, “Get Your Message Into Their Brains,” will be published in early 2016.

Weekly webinars with Cliff Atkinson, consultant and author of “Beyond Bullet Points,” changed the way I presented training materials in my full-time job as a technical trainer.  Helping Cliff produce his 3-day live, public teaching event in 2012 led me to become a Certified Beyond Bullet Points Presenter, as well as nudging me into the marketing world.

My association with Cliff introduced me, several years ago, to Ellen Finkelstein and her annual online event, Outstanding Presentations.  Since then, I’ve had the good fortune of meeting Ellen in person, interviewing her for my upcoming book as well as for a recent marketing campaign, and getting to know her and call her a friend.  Her support helped me recently launch my first successful paid 4-part live training, “Free Pictures Formula.”

Master speaker trainer, Arvee Robinson’s weekly group coaching calls helped me begin to adapt my teaching skills and experience into persuasive speaking skills.

My TeachersSigning up for some one-on-one coaching with Jim Alvino (with Top One Coaching) helped me develop a lot more clarify about what services I was going to offer and who were going to be my target clients.  Though that changed a few times, I still look back to what I learned from those initial exercises.

As I was feeling my way into the world of online marketing, I was (and still am) grateful for Michelle Shaeffer’s “Launch Your Blog” course, her incredible level of personal support and encouragement, and her amazing willingness to answer questions and help her students.

Through ongoing group coaching with Steve Sipress, a business coach trained by Dan Kennedy, I began to see how much I needed to learn.  His live events in the Chicago area and his online self-study courses helped me finally understand the essentials of positioning, branding, and marketing.

Attending Steve’s monthly local networking events made me realize I didn’t know how to talk about my business, which led me to ongoing group and individual coaching with Eric Lofholm, sales coach, trainer, and author of 7 best-selling books!  Besides radically changing the way I think about sales, Eric also led me to Rick Cooper, social media trainer and coach, from whom I’ve learned a great deal and received a lot of support and encouragement over the past several years.

Tony Laidig’s weekly free webinars, “The Expert Media Show,” and many of his paid training series have inspired me with new ways to connect my visual creativity to the development of my business.  His teaching has helped me fill in digital design skills gaps and expand my vision of what I can do in the brave new world of visual content marketing – a long way from my college minor in art and major in music education!

As my full-time job brought me new opportunities to learn video editing software, Lon Naylor of ScreencastStudios and LearnCamtasia has helped me continue to build on those video marketing skills and has been extremely generous in his support and in answering questions about what he models in his own online business.

Attending several of James Malinchak’s live events, Big Money Speaker, has made a lasting impact on the way I think about speaking, writing, and marketing and on my long-range plans for my business.

More recently, Amethyst Mahoney has brought me new understanding about how to make better use of Facebook in its current environment, as well as modeling her way of integrating her personality, philosophy and spirituality into her own business.  (She is also a lot of fun to interview, in case you’re looking for guests for your radio, hangout, webinar, blab, periscope, or podcast show!)

Another new teacher in my life this past year was Donna Moritz.  Her webinar training series, “Visual Content Blueprint,” opened my eyes to a whole integration between social media visuals and basic small business marketing that I was missing!

The Grace of the Guru

There is an expression used in Eastern spiritual/philosophical traditions:  the grace of the guru.

fall harvestWhile the word “guru” gets tossed around a lot in the internet marketing community, often with implications of self-acclaimed celebrity status, the Sanskrit origins of the word reflect a more esoteric meaning.

Sanskrit words often have many layers of meaning and guru is no exception.  The most common meanings of the gu syllable include heavy or dark or difficult to understand.  The ru syllable is sometimes defined as light, but a more accepted meaning is breaking or shattering.

The breaking or shattering of heaviness or darkness – a true guru performs this task by simply being an “enlightened being” whose example shines forth to those all around.

Even when words are used to teach certain ideas or concepts, the true deeper message is often beneath the surface of our conscious awareness.

Think about this as you learn from your teachers and mentors.  What are they teaching by example – by role modeling?  Don’t just listen to the words they say, but feel deeper into how you can learn from what they do.

Now it’s your turn:  What teachers and mentors have shattered the difficulties in your life and lit up your understanding?

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