Recently I was at a crossroad.
Having just attended a self development day event, I was swept up in emotion and dropped $3.5 K on a public speaking bootcamp they were advertising. Typing it out that may seem ridiculous to you…but I happily paid because I was certain of its potential.
But 2 days after the buzz of the event wore out, my rational mind kicked in.
Here was my dilemma:
The "hell yeah!"
I learnt so much at the one-day event that I was certain the bootcamp would change my life in a way I couldn’t imagine. The volunteers who attended this bootcamp in earlier years spoke about how they went on to be keynote speakers and write books – I wanted to do the same.
The "eh I don't know...'"
When advertising the public speaking bootcamp, the founder of the organisation mentioned only 11 spots remained in the Melbourne event. Looking back rationally, there was a whole lot more people who signed up for what was only ’11 spots’. While being one of the last to take the plunge, I was clouded by emotions and didn’t notice this inconsistency until reflecting.
When asking the founder for help deciding whether this event was for me, he cut me off a few sentences in with
“you have a lot of pride…what was the first thing I said to you?”.
Well that caught me off guard. In my head I thought:
“Huh? I don’t know because I was so focused on explaining my situation and then listening to your advice. I honestly have no clue”.
He followed up with “I don’t think this event is for you, because I don’t think you can handle the feedback”.
Well that cut deep. I knew he was right, in that I had both ego and pride. But even more, was a burning thought of “I can handle it!”.
Upon signing up and talking to the founder again, his demeanor changed and it was quite unsettling to see (in hindsight). Whether it was confirmation bias or what have you, I became skeptical and in flooded the inner conflict.
This is more a gut feeling (and I could be totally inaccurate), but when asking the founder what his motivation or ‘why’ was for the company, his answer did not convince me. Was it his eyes when he was speaking? I’m not sure but I just didn’t feel it was genuine.
What to do?
On one hand I was certain that this would change my life positively no matter what. I would learn a lot, but not knowing what it was spurred me further.
On the other, I was uncertain about the company and founder. I didn’t want to support a person who contently lies to people, or like a sales person (who he is), manipulating people’s emotions.
Again, writing it out, it seems like an obvious decision. But in that moment I was confused and stuck. Honestly, my mind was like this:
Why was this one factor cancelling out the others?
The real issue
After talking it out with my supportive friends Lauren, Derek and Ally (I’m so grateful for you guys), they guided me to realise my…
FEAR OF SCARCITY.
I was afraid that another event like this would not come up. In fact, I was settling (read its dangers here). The topic (public speaking + story SHOWING) was special. What if it drastically fast-tracked my skills and mindset other events couldn’t? What if I’d never learn these skills elsewhere?
And that is representative of excellent sales techniques. I commend the founder for his skill in convincing us his product was unique and scarce, but I don’t respect his methods.
In the end, our misalignment of values cemented my decision to not attend. Had it not been for my friends, I would’ve been stuck in the endless loop of “what if?”. I would’ve done the bootcamp anyway because I didn’t want to miss out on an event that could change my life.
My friends reassured me that there’d always be opportunities like this. That I would find something with content I’d resonate with and a leader I’d trust. This tunnel vision of what we’ll miss out on is hard to break from… but the world is not scarce. Treat it as abundant – be certain that there’ll be something better out there.
So thank you for helping me see that.