This week I put myself into a self-imposed exile.
The purpose was to "figure my sh*t out" and put together a new plan for 2021. Like many burgeoning business owners I hit a wall with one of my businesses called This My Tribe, or trīb. as most of you know it. It's a private community originally for top-performing Executive Assistants around the world. I created it in response to one-too-many lame EA conferences I'd attended where the handful of true badasses in the audience innately found each other and converged at a lunch table way in the back to talk shit about the conference, the speakers, the attendees, how bored we were, and what an insane waste of time and money the whole experience was. I stayed in touch with several of them and decided to start an online community where we could vent, share contacts and info, learn all the same strategies and workarounds our Execs used, speak blatant truths to one another, and support one another through the daily martyrdom and solitude of being EAs at the tops of the game. And for the most part, I succeeded. And then I f*cked it up.
In my effort to grow trīb's numbers with hopes of creating the same culture as the smaller, quasi-militant, "let's burn this role down and start over" initial members who absolutely smashed the game, the ranks quickly filled with the very people all of us were talking shit about at the cheesy conferences we'd all attended and despised. Instead of truths, the conversations filled with limiting beliefs. Instead of conversations about changing the game, the discourse was about garnering Exec respect with many not stepping up their game in any way to do so. Instead of bringing their unique talents to the table and sharing in an effort to pay forward their expertise, many used the platform only as a resource for their own gain while providing little-to-nothing of value to the group. And then developed an attitude about their questions not being answered in a timely manner and that the expectation didn't match the result. Three things occurred:
One of the truly bad habits I fell into throughout my career was bouncing whenever my interest waned. The crazy thing is I was exhibiting the same behaviors as my absentee father even after years of therapy to get to a place of forgiveness. I've been perpetually single because of this same suite of issues and 27 years of having to keep my guard up when dealing with CEOs I supported to protect myself from mistreatment, underutilization, under-compensation, and low-key racism, homophobia, and general "socio-scholastic" discrimination. Sure, it worked and allowed me to rise to the very top of the game, but at a cost.
trīb was my baby. It was my "f*ck you" to the whole EA-education industry whom I saw as purveyors of whack, regurgitated information with exploitatively high ticket prices and low-to-no ROI. (Yep, still bitter.) I created a traveling circus of my own, but with an almost antithetical message, filled with THE TRUTHS no one wanted to talk about, and the exact moves I made that landed me in the C-suite with a similar 6-figure income and respect level as the Execs I supported. My alums took that info, found the courage, had the crunchy conversations, and completely changed their roles and compensation structures, routinely. So my grand F.U. was achieved. In spades!
I returned to my WHY as I contemplated the future of trīb. Admittedly, I was close to calling it a day and hitting "delete community" in the dark of night, removing myself from the socials, going back to being just "LaGerald" and figuring out a new type of relevance as I licked my wounds. But then this magical thing happened. A handful of my EA superstars started having gobs of success building their own brands and needing my help to take it to the next level. And it reminded me of exactly WHY I started doing this. To help others build their brands and find the same type of individual success and validation I had found along my journey. And then it hit me.
Every next level you reach in life will demand a different version of you.
I am no longer an Executive Assistant. I'm a multiple business owner, who actually needs an Assistant. Becoming a CEO (and COO) has forced me into a much higher gear and moved me from Assistant to peer to the very people I supported. In fact, one of my ex-bosses is now my business partner. One of my trīb members whom I confide in all the time because she "gets me" reminded me that people look to me for cues to their own success. For those of you who are very public you have to remember that someone's always watching. Even when you think you're not having an impact, you are. Someone is always watching, and depending on how you're putting out, being inspired or disappointed. My goal is never to disappoint anyone. But with how trīb had morphed into something I was willing to walk away from, my disappointment at myself was really starting to do a number on me.
So I knew what I needed to do. Snatch back the reins, get back to the original intent, align that vision with where I am now vs. where I was then, and provide something new and fresh and uncomfortable and blatantly honest just like I'd built and grew trīb from the beginning. And that's exactly what I'm doing. Instead of resuscitating trīb, I'm kicking plug out of the socket, throwing it into a cryo chamber, gutting it and filling it with titanium, new life, and new intention, and whipping out the shock paddles to introduce a completely new trīb community where people from all walks of life can succeed, help one another master business, and actively change their own realities.
If you can't see it, you can't be it.
I want trīb to be filled with people who have achieved massive success right alongside the passionate ones who are still trying to figure it out. Those who want to achieve the same success, but haven't quite put the right pieces together or heard the real about what's actually required or given the actual steps of how to get it done. Conversely, I believe successful people need and are looking for opportunities to pay it forward because nothing feels more validating than knowing you helped someone achieve massive success simply by sharing your own journey, experience, and sage advice. Trust me, this is exactly why I teach. And exactly why trīb will live on in this fresh, new body. I've never been here to play the game. I've always been here to change it. And I'm convinced this new version of trīb will do exactly that.
For those of you who may own businesses and are struggling to find any joy in what its become I offer this: It's perfectly okay to admit that you've f*cked up. It's perfectly normal to get to a point where you want to bounce and just deal with the repercussions. But I highly recommend you try and remember what brought you to the party in the first place. It's likely you were trying to solve a pain point. It's likely you saw a hole in the market that only your expertise could fill. It's likely you had a dream one night and the Universe sent you a vision that you listened to and turned into a real, live company. Acknowledge it. But like I mentioned above, realize that you need to level up your company to where YOU are now or it will only be an endeavor, not a passion. In short, meet YOURSELF WHERE YOU'RE AT because that's where the passion exists. Otherwise, all the long hours, constant stress, lack of sleep, declining fitness, etc. will feel less like a privilege and a blessing and more like the toil they are when rocking the wrong perspective.
I'm super excited about the new trīb. But I'm even more excited by the fact that I'm passionate again and can't wait to create a consistent flow of new entrepreneurs, leaders, and success stories in a badass, super passionate, "burn it down and build it higher," community of like-minded professionals who couldn't give a f*ck about conforming to the status quo. That's what gets me excited now.
My sincerest wish is that you find or rediscover your individual passion and ways to pay it forward for those who are watching. Because they are. Remember, a phoenix always rises. They have to burn themselves to ashes and rediscover how to fly. And, boy, when they do.
Photo Credit: Go Displays
Phoenix is coaching and supporting American billionaires, CEOs and executive teams in tech, retail and banking for over 25 years. He also founded and created MEGA Assistant University, a revolutionary skills and mindset “boot camp” for top Executive and Personal Assistants who want to level up quickly and begin forging a mutually successful business partnership with their executives and teams. Phoenix holds a Bachelors of Arts in European Studies/Civilisation from Trinity College Dublin.