WHY do we exist?
We discovered our 'why'
just before we considered shutting down.
I remember the night Entre-SLAM went on life support vividly. We had just completed a tough storytelling event in Detroit. It was raining like crazy that night and the Michigan winter was starting to introduce herself on a dark November evening. While technically, the night was relatively smooth, the problem was the a bigger, better organized competitor opened up a similar event the same night, three doors down from our event.
Watching the streams of people walk past our event was almost as heartbreaking as the moments we gave directions to folks to the other event. Driving home that night, I had to make some tough decisions which included accepting that what I did wasn't unique after all. I had to either face that fact, or shut it down. I chose to face the facts and in doing so, my heart broke in a million pieces. Feeling the weight of months of bootstrapping and having to go home and reveal to my husband that I was out of money, out hustled and just well...out. Of course, he just said (as he passed over the tissue), 'Not yet.'
That moment was cathartic because the real question wasn't whether or not what I did was unique. The better question was, why was I the one to lead it and what made me unique? The answer, turned out wasn't related to the business at all but traced back to my time in the Army.
I remembered the moment when I had to literally drag another soldier across the field during an exercise because she was afraid. The experience was powerful because the unexpected lesson was that no-one gets left behind. I couldn't just leave her. Doing what needs to be done even when we're afraid is tough but sometimes you need someone who can grab you by the proverbial collar and drag you across the field to the finish line. That moment defined the baseline story behind what I do and why, that energy, that promise, is what I bring to every conversation and experience when I sit across from a founder who has that fire to 'get it done' but has lost his/her way.
Helping companies find the answers to those critical questions that defines a company's competitive advantage and 'secret sauce', is why I get up in the morning. It's an honor to be a part of each of these journeys because at the end of the day, it's the story you don't tell that is probably the one that the world really wants to know about.