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The 10 Scariest Things About Hosting a Live Event—And the 1 Thing I Did to Combat My Fear

In the coaching space, we talk a lot about fear, don’t we?

We talk amongst ourselves about how fear can prevent us from building the coaching businesses of our dreams.

And we talk with our clients about how living from a space of fear can prevent them from achieving their biggest goals.

Even so, in the months preceding The Coaches Console’s first-ever live event, Lifestyle LIVE! I found myself experiencing it: fear!

I was scared about whether my team and I would be able to pull off a live event. We’re great at virtual launches and promotions, trainings, and community, but we’d never gone LIVE.

We didn’t know what we didn’t know, and I did not want to get to the end of the event and think, “If only we’d done this one thing, we could have been successful.”

Then I had an epiphany:

I could turn fear into motivation.

Not knowing what you don’t know is not an excuse for failure, and I became motivated—absolutely determined!—to put the pieces in place to make Lifestyle LIVE! a huge success.

One of the strategies we employ for every project is “Focus Forward,” where, in advance of the project we sit down and map out all the potential pitfalls—and their possible solutions. We did that with Lifestyle LIVE! and that played a huge role in turning fear into motivation.

Here are the Top Ten scariest things about hosting live events—and how I used them to get and stay motivated:


 

Will I have created content that will create transformation for folks that attend?

This was my greatest source of motivation. No matter what new program we offered for people to continue the work, I wanted the people who trusted me and my team with their time and investment to have the best experience possible—and to be empowered to create a great transformation simply because they attended.

 

How would I manage the thousands of details necessary to plan, prepare for, and produce a live event EXPERIENCE?

For four months, I focused! My team and I poured all of our time, energy, attention and resources into creating content, producing materials, mapping out the experience and pulling it all together. In many cases, we didn’t know what we didn’t know because we had never done a live event before. So I brought in some folks who were experts and passionate about creating stellar live event experiences. Their team taught and guided our team to plan, prepare, and produce the epic experience that it was. Their expert knowledge became our source of motivation.

 

After I’ve poured my heart and soul into the content and preparation, will I hear anyone say, “Is that all you’ve got for us?”

Instead of coming from a place of fear and jam-packing the event with content, though, I did the opposite: I left space for the magic to happen, for attendees to ask any questions they had. This empowered them to get exactly what they wanted out of the event—and it gave me the confidence that I wouldn’t hear that dreaded question when it was over.

 

Will I fall on my face during an onstage dance break?

I just had to trust myself and the Universe on this one! I have good practice dancing and moving in the three-inch heels and heeled boots I wore (I know—so not practical!), and I knew I’d roll with the punches.

 

Will I hear crickets when it’s time for people to sign up for the new program I was offering?

Again, I had to trust the Universe—and my preparation. I had to trust that I was providing the right content and the right experience, so that when I invited people to join me for a program, the ideal clients for that program would accept my invitation … and they did!

 

Will I be able to fill the time with the content I prepared? Will I be able to share all my content without running over the time I allotted for each session?

As I mentioned above, I left space in the schedule for the magic to happen. Rather than filling every.single.minute with content, I left breathing room. And it worked out perfectly! I was able to cover everything I wanted to cover, and attendees were still able to personalize their experiences by asking questions that came up. I call it “reading the room,” and it enabled me to provide not only great content but also a great experience to the precise people in the room, relevant to the precise spots they were at in their lives and businesses.

 

What if we have severe weather that prevents people from showing up?

One element of determining our location for this event was mapping out where bad weather was highly unlikely. So planning and preparation minimized the chances of bad weather, significantly. After that, it’s about letting go of control. There’s nothing I can do about the weather. Instead, I chose to focus on what I could control, which was providing a great experience for the people in the room.

 

Will our folks like the speaker we lined up?

We did tons of due diligence before lining up our speaker, Pete Vargas. We worked to ensure we had the ideal attendees in the room, and when someone referred us to Pete, we got references and reviewed the materials he planned to share with our folks to make sure his presentation, style, and message matched ours. Then, again, I had to let go and trust—and it turned out great!

 

Will this “expensive experiment” pay off?

A live event requires a huge monetary investment—with no promise of impending revenue. Living in that space is an intense emotion to balance, especially because there have been a few times in business where we didn’t have the cash flow to take the step we wanted or needed to take for our growth. As we planned and prepared for the event, we reviewed our numbers weekly (with an emphasis on the RIGHT numbers: registrations, attendees, expenses, liabilities, etc.). This helped us make smart, quick decisions about whether items were “nice,” “necessary,” or “neither,” and whether they lined up with the end result we were going for: a great experience for our attendees. “The best possible experience” was way too expensive for our first live event. So we got creative and minimized our budget (which was still a significant investment). And in the end, I’m confident we gave people that GREAT experience we strove for. As we focused on numbers and providing a great experience, most of my fear subsided because I knew it was likely that people would sign up for the program we were offering—and we’d make money back.

 

Will I lose my voice?

In the days leading up to Lifestyle LIVE! there was a flu epidemic in our community. This definitely motivated me to stay focused and stay healthy! I used this as a motivator to ramp up my own self-care leading up to and during the event so I could be at my best and bring my best to everyone in attendance. I stopped going out and meeting up with people in person, but I still developed a slight cough, which I nursed throughout the event (by gargling my dad’s concoction of apple cider vinegar, lemon, honey, ginger, and salt each morning and night and on every break).



In conclusion …

Lifestyle LIVE! went off without a (major) hitch, and I attribute much of it to our “Focus Forward” strategy, and to bringing in experts to guide us and educate us in terms of what we didn’t know we didn’t know. Both of these make “scary” things less scary, and help us brainstorm great ideas from a solution-oriented place.

I’d love to hear from you … what fears are holding you back from something important right now? Let me know, and I’ll respond personally.

Posted in: Professional Development

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10 Comments

  1. NAncy March 12, 2018

    I can relate to alot of what you mentioned. I love the leave space for the magic to happen. Being an overachiever, I can also relate to the BEST experience, where expensive isn’t always what is needed. I’ve been in seminars where you are overwhelmed when you get out. It’s better to give them what they need, some breathing room with the magic space, so they feel comfortable with what they got.

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  2. Devora Gila Berkowitz March 12, 2018

    Oh, Melinda, it was such an privilege to watch you and the team create the Live Event from behind the scenes… and then be a part of this amazing event. You were and continue to be such a source of inspiration to me and the team. In this blog, you outline here a valuable approach for all entrepreneurs, myself included, who are faced with their biggest fears when running their business. A huge thanks for your leadership and inspiration from the bottom of my heart!!

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  3. Nureka Findlater March 12, 2018

    Wow! Thank you for sharing this. I think fear has been showing up in all sorts of ugly over the past week for me. In the form of illness, childcare plan fallen through, fear that maybe this is the wrong timing, maybe I have gotten ahead of myself, what if this all doesn’t workout. Is this what God wants me to do? Am I aligned to His will? Am I not getting paying clients because this may not be what God actually has for me? The list goes on.

    Am I biting too much too fast? Do I have to wait 10 months before I start seeing a ROI? Is this overwhelm setting in and I am having a hard time discerning your voice? Back to the drawing board. Perfect love cast out fears. Moving onward & upward. One step at a time. This is a marathon and not a sprint.

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  4. Terri Werner March 12, 2018

    Hello, Melinda. Thank you so much for this awesome ‘behind the scenes’ look at the Lifestyle LIVE! event. I am so happy and grateful that I attended. I am a trainer/facilitator, I have hired them, and I have experienced a great many of them as a participant. I also have very high standards in this domain. I can honestly say that you and your team did a FABULOUS job creating a meaningful experience on so many levels. I was so impressed. Thank you again.

    After over 30 years of providing training, consulting, facilitation and coaching in person – we are moving to Eastern Europe for at least two years. I don’t know if it’s a true assessment or not, but I keep telling myself I need to learn how to teach and serve clients virtually.

    I know that one of my main gifts is the energy shift I create ‘in the room’ with a group, and some of my interactive learning techniques need to be done in person. Also the in-person connection is what ‘jazzes’ me – feeds my soul.

    I tried doing a webinar, and the experience (and feedback from the participants) convinced me that online programs will never be as impactful as in person.

    So one fear is whether I can figure out how to create online experiences that are transformational, and whether I would even enjoy it. (I am blessedly at a stage of my life where I don’t have to offer anything I don’t enjoy!)
    Another fear is whether I will be able to find/attract enough English-speaking clients to do programs in person where we are going to be living.

    Thank you for inviting us to share. I look forward to hearing from you.
    Hugs,
    Terri

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      Melinda Cohan March 13, 2018

      Hey Terri.. I hear ya! and what i can say is that i’ve spent the past 14 years creating AWESOME community, experiences and transformation virtually… so it TOTALLY can be done. I’m your example. What I also can say is that the differences are: (1) rather than seeing names listed in the chat roll on the webinar OYU VISUALIZE an actual person sitting across from you… when you’re taking into a camera, you don’t see the camera lens, you VISUALIZE an actual person. When doing recordings (FB Lives, etc) you don’t make a recording to post, you have a conversation while you VISUALIZE an actual person sitting on the other side of the phone and (2) you simply evoke other senses when you’re interacting virtually rather than in person. This is how I do it. I remember when i first started my coaching business, most of my clients were local business so i would meet them in person i their offices (or at a central meeting point). As i began to get more and more referrals that didn’t live in my home town, i went exclusively to coaching over the phone… it honed my listening skills and my intuition to greater degrees because i could no longer rely solely on my sense of sight. It’s simply different senses you utilize. And truly, i never make a video, do a webinar, record a video or post a comment anywhere where i am not visualize 1-3 very specific people – their exact names, their faces, what their challenges are, their goals, and so on. I create everything for them as they are my ideal avatar… you can total get personal and create a phenomenal experience virtually…so the coach in my want’s to know what’s really going on behind what you’re telling yourself 😉

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  5. Katerina March 13, 2018

    Hi Melissa, thank you so much for sharing your experience, it was so inspiring and made me feel I’m not the only one with fear.
    I’m in the process of making my coaching business official. This means I will have to cover expenses on insurance and tax. So I’m thinking to start the business from home – which by the way I rent.

    In parallel I am afraid to leave my current job which is offering financial security but requires many hours in the office, much focus and energy deposit and no motivation whatsoever.

    I’m scared of the financial burden and ambiguity. I fear that I will not be able to offer my clients a nice “environment” as my house has limited possibilities. I fear that I will not make enough money so as to enable me to leave my current job so I will be dissapointed and quit. I fear that all my energy is already spent within the day with a job I don’t like so not many strengths are left to optimize my coaching business. I fear I do not have the capability of being a free lancer because I’ve never done it before so I don’t know what I don’t know.
    So, many annoying 🙂 fears are holding me back.
    I would love to hear from you.
    Katerina

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      Melinda Cohan March 13, 2018

      Hello Katerina, I get it! And one thing i have found that battles fear pretty quickly is “preparation.” You’ll notice in many of my situations in this blog post when fear was present, i minimized it by preparing the best i could in advance. So for each fear you’ve listed, now create a plan to turn that feat around. for each fear, ask yourself “What would need to be in place for this fear to not exist or to be dramatically minimized? and that answer is what you focus on as you move forward one step at a time.

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      • Katerina March 15, 2018

        Thank you Melinda for your meaningful response! 🙂

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  6. Monique Briand March 21, 2018

    Thank You Melinda for the useful info and the peek behind the scenes. I appreciate learning through your replies to Terri and Katerina as well! I also believe preparation is key to reducing stress level. I love what you share in point 3 about not overloading the event with material and having space for the natural flow. Living Life in the moment is Good. I also loved hearing about your Dad’s nurturing solution. Love is Best! So nice seeing you surrounded, supported and loved by family. Cheers!

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    • http://coachesconsole.com/wp-content/themes/Sterling/images/global/img-default-grav.png
      Melinda Cohan March 21, 2018

      It’s so true… preparation takes a bit of time and attention up front but leads to substantial freedom, way more fun and a much better experience in the long run! You just gotta ask yourself… are you playing a short term game or long term game?!?!

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