Stefanie Hartman In The Press

Wow! Lessons Learned…

Posted on 20 August 2010 by Stefanie

Why to Stretch Yourself…

I just returned from speaking at Nick Nanton’s VIP (and Private) mastermind event in New York City.  I LOVE LOVE, (did I mention) LOVE NYC!

That was a cool experience as I was speaking to mainly Dan Kennedy’s graduates.  Nick hand selected my training piece and I spoke on the $500,000 webinar formula.  I trained, it wasn’t a pitch fest (and I loved that).  It was fun and everyone was taking notes like mad.  In fact Nick asked me to distribute the PDF’s to make it easier for his group.  That’s always my secret goal with speaking – deliver content so they are writing it down.  I am so mean – Ha Ha.

I was reminded of a GREAT SPEAKER LESSON: Train people, just give great content – and then those interested will ask to become your clients because you gave them real help – not a sales pitch.   I just want you to know that I practice what I preach and not only is it less stressful for you as a speaker, and way more fun, but when you are relaxed and just train, you and your material shines though.

So I had one day to work and 1 day to play and I wandered the streets of New York.  What a beautiful city.  There was an open market that extended all the way to Central Park.  It was too much fun; I really enjoy outdoor markets when I travel.  Of course as I came with only carry-on so I could not buy all I wanted.  Which perhaps was for the best.

The best part of that trip was getting to know Nick and his partner Jack as well as their family.  What a dynamo team they have with Lindsey, Jack & Nick.  If you haven’t checked out what they are doing go and see:

Few Days Later…

A few days and 3 planes later I was off to Ocean City Maryland to speak at the Entrepreneur Success Summit.  That was a longer event (3 full days), and didn’t exactly turn out as I thought it would.  870 people were expected and less than ¼ showed up.  I remember walking in on the first day and my stomach just dropped.  I felt a little ill not only for me and the other speakers but for the organizer.  I felt bad for us all.

This was a massive 3-day event with the biggest names in the industry.  And some of them pulled out of speaking due to the lack of attendees.  There was talk of cancelling the event outright.  I can understand that for sure, but I was determined to stay and see it through for those who DID show up plus those who were planning on watching on You Tube and Facebook – live.

What made it tougher was you could feel deflated energy in the room.  Like it was hush-hush, quiet.

SPEAKER LESSON: Raise your energy and BE THERE – fully present no matter if there are 25 people or 2000 people.  Everyone deserves your best.

So I got on stage, even asked everyone to rise and shake out that deflated energy that I was determined to change.  It worked and I had fun training on stage.  People shifted because I shifted.  That’s important for you guys to know – every phone call you take, every interaction, people reflect your energy – so give them your best.

I admit, I worked hard, and because there is less in the room, less energy is reflected back to you so I did feel drained, not only from that but from the back stage drama. I thought I was done, that I could enjoy the next few days, but then I was asked to put together a presentation on the fly for the next day in place of one of the speakers that did cancel.

At first, I was tempted to decline.  I was tired and the easiest thing to do was nothing.  I had fulfilled my obligation.  The easiest thing to do was to go out that night for dinner, and out on the town with people who invited me.  After all, I hadn’t even seen the city.

But I decide to stretch myself and see what happened.  So I was up past midnight, but got it together and you know what – people loved it.  In fact they came up saying they had goose-bumps and chills and walked away with valuable usable tips right away for their business.

Here’s what I PERSONALLY LEARNED from these 2 events:  Stretch yourself.  Going to NY was last minute and very inconvenient for me.  I had family staying at my house for only 3 days, and had to give up 2 days with them to prepare for the trip.  I was also speaking to a sophisticated group and had no idea how my material would land with them.

But in New York I was not only rewarded with new clients, but I felt PRIDE that I did it.  I showed up and pushed myself.

In Ocean City I was rewarded by actually getting some big clients and also some JV’s, but again felt PRIDE that I pushed myself and my second talk (on the fly) turned out great.

Here’s the deal, I hope I don’t sound too preachy here, but the “safe” thing to do is NOT to push yourself.  It’s not to expose yourself.  I could have turned down NY, AND the second talk.  Heck I could have walked away from the whole event – but it is not in my make-up to do that. I need to do what feels right.

Hey, I speak to experts like you all the time, who are gung-ho in the beginning yet when they start to get a little success, sometimes they draw inward or backwards.  They fear what others will think of them, even what the other experts in their industry will say about them.  And essentially what is really happening is YOU are getting bigger.  Your reach is expanding.

Certainly some people (competition) who fear you may talk.  But so what?  Ok, I know it still sucks.  And it does upset me when rumors fly – in fact there was one about me and someone who is just a friend of mine at this last event.  But that will pass, and it’s all Bull**** anyways.  Don’t let it block you (am I going to really care about that rumor in 10 years?? NO!).

The important thing is that the world is waiting for YOU to STEP UP.  When you do step up, guess what – the world comes forward and meets you where you are.  So whenever you get that “unsafe” feeling – most likely you are GROWING – that’s all.  Recognize that and go for it.

My philosophy is that you can’t plan for many of the big things that will happen to you in life – fame, kids, marriage, you can’t plan for all the details and challenges each will bring.  But you can decide to STEP UP and GROW.  To expand yourself – believe me the personal satisfaction and private PRIDE you will feel for just going for it outweighs everything else.

The opposite typically leads to frustration and even depression.

We are always meant to do and learn new things grow & expand ourselves.  Isn’t that what we did as kids – it doesn’t stop just because you reach x age.

If nothing else – you will walk away a richer, deeper person with each step, each time you stretch yourself.  And by doing so, you gain more confidence so that the fear really dissipates.

Isn’t that what life is about in the end anyways?  Isn’t that what leadership is about?

As an entrepreneur – you ARE a leader.

This weekend – why not do something different and out of the norm for you – go do something adventurous and slightly scary, out of your comfort zone, even take a friend, do it together or better yet do it by yourself.

Some suggestions:
Learn to rock climb, ice-skate or ski, go to the track and take a stunt driving lesson. Bake a complicated cake for a party, enroll in a running group or bootcamp.  Do something that you used to do when you were a kid and forgot how to do OR something you have always wanted to do.  Or for work – call a BIG client, or that JV partner you’ve been dreaming of – do something BIG, something outrageous to get their attention.  Take the risk.  Take the step.

Please report back to me – tell us when YOU expanded yourself and how you felt when you did.

I would REALLY be interested in hearing about it.


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Wow! Lessons Learned...

9 Comments For This Post

  1. Robert Stanley Says:

    I was at the event in OC and I must say… your presentation, above many good ones, was by-far the best. You did a great job and for what it’s worth… you gained my respect.

    Hope to see you speak again soon.


    P.S. – Funny joke you cracked about the two bald guys in the hallway… even if it was accidental. Couldn’t stop laughing at that one.

  2. A.J. Brown Says:

    Stefanie, I have had similar experiences as you described and I concur, you are 100% right… the event is what you make out of it. So, make it big! You did that. You are truly someone to model after. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Deborah B Says:

    Thank you for posting these speaker lessons! I too have spoken at events where I expected a larger audience and had to shake it off and GO BIG or GO HOME (not an option). These and other times where I’m between a rock and a hard place, I always choose the ROCK – Resilience, Optimism, Courage and Kindness. It works every time!

    Also, about 35 years ago I was a rock climber and have been thinking I’d like to find a rock wall and give it a go. The shape I’m in these days, climbing a rock wall will be a stretch . . . I know you wish me luck!

    Thank you again!

  4. debbie teegardin Says:

    I was at the summit in Ocean City, Maryland and heard your speech. First, you are an amazing speaker, you held my interest and i lose interest very easy. Your content was on a level that everyone could understand and you provided us with a wealth of information. I thank you as i have just signed up for your private JV Club. I stepped out of my comfort zone to come to the summit in Ocean City as I have not been to hear a speaker for many years and I also built my own website a few months ago which is definetly out of my comfort zone. I am feeling some growing pains so I really am learning alot. This is truely an amazing adventure.

  5. Carmen Says:

    what an awesome lesson Stefanie! WOW- stepping out of our comfort zone is something we should practice with every single small or big opportuniy in life, you never know where it leads you and that’s the only way we make progress in our personal and business endeavors…thanks for this great reminder!!!


  6. Sharon Hoehner Says:


    You were FANTASTIC in Ocean City. I was online; not there in person. I watched your presentation several times on the replay and took plenty of notes. The people who didn’t show up really missed a fantastic event and the ones who showed up really got their money’s worth from all the speakers who bothered to show up. You were beyond professional!

  7. Charlie Seymour Jr Says:

    Thanks for reflecting on this, Stefanie. Often we go through life without realizing what is happening around us. My kids tease me that I put special dates in my calendar so next year and 20 years from now I’ll know what took place… because it’s all the little moments that make life great.

    You were terrific in OC, MD. Both talks. And you kept telling me that I had already heard one of them when we met previously in Philadelphia… but I took even MORE notes this time.

    Your gift is not simply that you’re at ease on a stage and can deliver your message better than most – it’s that you deliver it in a way that all of us can appreciate, using examples from your life that touch all of ours. Indeed… borrowing a cup of sugar seems very much like doing a joint venture when put in a way that makes it so clear.

    Thanks for taking the risk and putting yourself on the line. Really enjoy you each and every time.


    Charlie Seymour Jr

  8. Andre J Pilon Says:

    Thank you warmly Stefanie,
    for the pertinence, the boldness and the downright EXACT
    way of stepping out of one’s comfort zone.

    The trick, as you mention is to be of service, to be about the
    audience’s needs; they are listened to and fulfilled, theu YOU
    are fulfilled.

    So smart to deliver to inform, care about the audience;
    a sure way to get clients, the normal return of energy…

    Sales Pitch takes too energy, are one-way Bla-Bla and forget about the ACTUAL audience.

    Finally, you give me the final nudge to return to Toastmasters
    in order to become a Professional Speaker; never forgetting
    the lessons you mention with such clarity.

    We haven’t work together yet;
    but keep me in the loop.

    Thank you for this valuable and very pertinent GIFT.

    Montreal, Canada

  9. Jennie Yates Says:

    Hi Stefanie,

    I have expanded myself and it’s awesome! I love my life and this process is amazing. I’ll explain after I preface…

    It’s been a while since we’ve talked, or since I saw you in Santa Fe. You know people well; typical behavior, fears of succes, etc. I fell in that category, until I decided to step out and take a big risk.

    I felt myself being close to success in your MIT program and then I retreated. Since then I’ve been refining what my passion is in order to be motivated by that, instead of what I’m good at.

    I am committed to self empowerment and my hearts desire has been to produce a movie on my best friend from college. She lost her life during desert storm and her story of heroism needs to be told. I decided to tell anyone, everyone, my passion and my dream for the past 2 years. Then I was surprised to see another womans name online explaining how she is doing the same movie. I felt 5 seconds of fear and then decided to reach out and email this stranger.

    Wow! She emailed me back in 8 minutes! She was intrigued and now I have a JV with this Hollywood writer/producer. The risk I took of reaching out, has landed me the position of co-producer! This will be a major motion picture about my best friend. Is this cool? Yes…or Yes! So thank you for all I’ve learned from you for the past few years, and I’m glad to give you the feedback you asked for on here.

    Lots of love to you and Tania <3 !

    Jennie in Colorado

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