This past week I had an opportunity to attend an event hosted by Clickfunnels CEO, Russell Brunson. The event is called a “Funnel Hackathon” or FHAT (pronounced “fat”) for short.
These are generally reserved for Russell’s high-end inner circle and coaching clients. These clients pay anywhere from $25,000 to $50,000 a year to be in these programs. Although I was in one of these programs a couple years ago, I am no longer a member. But, Russell and I have become friends over the last 3 years or so and he has invited me to some of these types of events in the past.
So, when I got a text from him asking me if I would like to attend, I of course accepted.
Day one of the event started at 8:30am at the Clickfunnels headquarters. As I walked in and absorbed the scene, I saw several people that I knew, many that I did not, and many that I knew by reputation alone. They were giants in the Clickfunnels world. Without exception, they were the ones who had won multiple 2 Comma Club and/or 2 Comma Club X awards (generating a million dollars or 10 million dollars through a sales funnel, respectively).
My initial thought after seeing who was in attendance was, “I don’t belong here.”
I would be lying if I said that I wasn’t intimidated and half scared to be in the same room with these minds that thought on a different level than the rest of us mere mortals.
The topic for the next two days was how to build a webinar (or online presentation that you can use to sell a product or service.) I was very aware that I didn’t even have a product to sell and felt even more out of my depth.
Undeterred, I decided to just make something up based on my past experience and got to work. For two days straight, Russell went through each piece of the webinar framework as we all followed along, filled in our own sections, and made copious notes.
By the end of the first day I was mentally drained and sent Russell this text, “Thank you for not doing group exercises.”
Apart from being an extreme introvert who detests group exercises, I also felt really insecure about my chosen “product” that didn’t even exist in my imagination until that morning. The last thing I wanted to do was share it with anyone.
Day two proceeded similarly as day one. With about 2 hours to go, Russell made an announcement, “Ok, we’re going to wrap the training up and during the last hour I have a fun project for you guys. I think you are going to like it...well, except Tobe, he’s going to hate it because we’re going to do a group exercise and you’re going to pair up with someone that you don’t know to pitch them on with your webinar presentation we’ve spent the last two days building.”
Son. Of. A. Bitch.
I started to panic a little bit and almost got up to leave at that point. I figured I could sneak out and no one would be the wiser.
No, I couldn’t do that. Russell went out of his way to invite me (at no cost) and that would be a dick move if I left before the end.
I was going to have to suck it up, quit being a pussy about it, and get through it. Besides, I would probably get matched up with someone who didn’t know what they were doing either.
I got matched up with a high-level, multiple 2 Comma Club award winner who had built her business on the back of doing webinars. Describing her as an “expert” in online marketing seems like such an inadequate descriptor.
Ok, well what’re you gonna do? The situation was what the situation was and all I could think was that I wanted to go first so I could get it over with without humiliating myself too badly.
So, I offered to go first and prefaced my presentation with these remarks, “Ok, look, before I get started I need to give you some context about why this is going to be the shittiest presentation you’ve ever heard…” and told her about how I wasn’t really supposed to be there, I made up my product the day before, and that I had no idea what I was doing.
Whew. Probably not the best way to start off, but whatevs. Here we go…
I dove right in and pitched her my brand new product from start to finish. About halfway through her eyes were beginning to widen and her jaw hung slack. When I was done she said, “HOLY CRAP, that was seriously amazing! How did you pull all that together on a brand new idea?!”
I didn’t know what to say. Here was this giant among giants praising me. It was kind of surreal. I was anxious to hear her pitch so I could compare mine to how a real webinar was supposed to go.
As she began I could feel the uncertainty in her voice as she started and stopped, started and stopped. Her messaging was confusing and disjointed. It was halting and unsure. She was having a hard time getting through it without stopping to take notes on where it was falling apart.
In short, it was awful.
I was stunned. I really couldn’t believe what I was seeing and hearing. She didn’t seem to be embarrassed or flustered or frustrated though. It was all very matter-of-fact as she moved through it awkwardly and hesitatingly.
Finally she came to the end, smiled, and said, “Well I have a lot of work to do to dial this in.”
At that moment I realized two things…
First, I did belong there. I may not have reached the heights as some of the others, but I am every bit as smart and talented as they are. Success can be mine just as it is for them.
Second, I know that my partner that day will go home, organize her notes and thoughts, revamp her presentation and then do it over and over and over to live audiences until it is pitch perfect. She will end up making millions of dollars with that webinar.
So often in life we don’t see the mess that leads to the success. We only see the triumphant crossing of the finish line. We don’t see the failures, the disappointments and the heartache on the way to the top.
But, every high achiever knows that there is mess before success.
The difference between them and those who never make it?
Constancy and consistency. They are constantly and consistently honing their message, their craft, and their offers. They do the work over and over and over until they run out of ways to fail.
Those two days rubbing shoulders with giants boosted my confidence in a way that nothing else ever has. It’s my time now.