Note, the issue below is not only a female thing. Men experience it too. The stories are illustrative, not proof. I've coached hundreds of folks—men and women—my opinion is based on that.
Last week I was at BIF2015
This past week I was at BIF2015. It's a conference that's been going on for over a decade. I found out about it several years ago but consistently had a scheduling conflict so I could never attend. This year, working for Crowd Favorite, I had no such conflict. So I went. And it was incredible!
The BIF conference is for innovation junkies. And every presenter is given an allotment of time to tell their story. Story is the key. Every single speaker must present using the storytelling method. No lectures. No pitches. No dreams and vision. Just stories.
So you can imagine how well I fit in with these people. Storytelling and innovation. Boom!
Let me tell you what went into my decision to go
We're teaching my kids, here at the house this year, about meta-cognition. We're helping them think about their thinking. So we sometimes ask them to think out loud.
So let me take you on the journey that I took when I thought about registering for BIF2015.
- Hey, BIF2015 has announced their dates this year, do I have a conflict?
- No conflict? Awesome. Can I afford the early bird price?
- **Ticket Purchased.**
That was it.
I know, I'm highly skilled at making decisions. I do it for a living.
I even worked on a patent with the world's third most well known decision scientist. We brought decision making and technology together on the web. It was fun.
But that's not my point. By the way, the cost of the two-day conference was something like $650.
Let me take you on another journey.
I wanted my wife to take a cake decorating class…
When we first moved here to the San Diego area, I wanted my wife to take a cake decorating class.
She's amazing at baking and decorating cakes and she's never taken any serious lessons or a class. It's all been self-taught and books and reality tv.
My wife is brilliant. Seriously rocket science sharp. My kids have ridiculous IQs because of her.
So her learning on her own has been great. But I wanted to encourage her hobby. So I suggested she take a class.
It cost $150.
Here was her thought process…
Let's walk thru her thought process to see how she considered the course, the cost, and more.
- A class sounds fun. How much is it?
- That's a lot of money. Maybe this is just a want, not a need. What's the time commitment?
- It's held in the evenings, on weeknights? Who will watch the kids? I'm not sure about this.
- Is there a test? What if I can't pass the test? Maybe I should practice more before taking it right now.
- I'm not sure I can put it to use right now. It's not like I can make money right away. This is just an expense.
- It sounds like I would need to supply my own tools. I don't know if I have everything. I'd have to spend more money.
- Why don't we talk about it another time. The timing isn't right.
Do you see what she did there?
And as I talk with a lot of female entrepreneurs, many of whom are moms, I hear all of this played out over and over.
The default position is to think about every potential roadblock and hurdle. And the result is a lack of investing in oneself.
Let me be clear. I'm not blaming women.
It's easy to read this and think I'm trying to say something about my wife or women. I'm not.
Let me be very clear about what I am saying.
As men, we allow this narrative to play out in the heads of the women we're around. We allow it to be part of the narrative in our discussions.
I remember thinking, “You're right, what will you do about the kids?” as if it was her requirement to solve that problem.
They're our kids. Not hers. I could have been the one that solved the problem, not her.
I'm sad to say I totally fell for it. I let her skip the class.
But the story doesn't end there….
I'm the dad of a very headstrong and smart little girl. I want the very best for her. I want every opportunity for her.
And so, because of that, I've started paying attention to lots of things, most especially my own metacognition.
So thankfully, I circled back to Melissa the next semester and challenged her to take the class—this time highlighting that we would solve the kid issue together.
I also highlighted that we'd buy any tools she needed and that she didn't need to “recover” the $150 registration.
And she took the class. And she learned a lot. That was a couple years ago now and you should see the cakes she makes today.
That cake is 12 inches wide and deep and 8 inches tall. It weight over 25 lbs. It could have fed 400 people. It only fed 40. Every single square was not only custom colored but cut into a perfect square.
She took almost 3 full days to make it. And it was incredible.
And it almost never came to be because my wife, like so many other people I know, are hesitant to invest in themselves.
And this is a business problem I don't think most men have.
We invest in ourselves easily and quickly. Without a ton of thought about hurdles.
This is why I love Lisa Larter
The other day I introduced you to Lisa Larter. She's amazing. Her story is amazing. And her mission is to give as much of herself as possible to the business education of women everywhere.
She's running an event in early October and I've already sponsored two women to go. Because it's so important for women to invest in their own business and invest in themselves and money shouldn't be the thing holding people back.
She also has a book that is about to come out. I pre-ordered 10 and will be giving them away (except for the one my wife and daughter share).
So let me leave you with this challenge…
If you're a man, with women around, and you see potential (but also hear all sorts of roadblocks)—be someone who knocks the roadblocks down. Be an investor.
Oh, and send them Lisa's way—because everyone needs a mentor.