This past weekend I had the pleasure of teaching 14 women (who ranged in age from 18 to “let’s not talk about it”) how to start or better run their cake businesses. By the end of the class there were lots of hugs, promises to stay in touch and support one another, a ton of gratitude and a whole lot of tears (some mine. I’m a crier and I’m not even vaguely embarrassed about it). Every time we’ve taught it, I’ve always felt that something kinda magical happens in that class. When I click to the last slide, I get all awkward and just say, “Well, that’s it. We’re done,” and everyone sits there in total silence staring at me and we all feel a bit sad that it’s over. Nobody wants to get up and break the spell. I always have to resist the urge to bawl right then. I can’t really explain the feeling that happens in that room…it’s just, well, it’s magical.
This class was an exceptionally emotional class for me to teach because I knew most of those student’s backstories. I knew that some had to sacrifice a hell of a lot financially, emotionally, and even physically just to be sitting there. I knew that some barely made it to class for those same reasons. I knew that some were pinning HUGE hopes on that class, that somehow just being there would inspire them to finally move forward rather than keep treading water. This class was a really, really big deal for all of them and for me.
At the end of it, one of the students pulled me aside and said, “I’m totally broke, but I still wanted to give you something to say thank you. When I emailed you a few months ago about my situation, your reply changed everything for me. It gave me strength. I know what you said to me in that email was mostly sentimental bullshit but I didn’t care because it gave me the strength to keep going and to be here and every day I’m getting a little bit better. So I just wanted to give you something to say thank you.”
She thinks all she gave me was a thank you, some yummy treats and an enormous hug.
She gave me a WHOLE LOT more than that.
I say and teach this a lot: Having a purpose (or a “big why” or “the 3am reason”) for your business is the single best way to stay on track with your goals, help you set new ones, push yourself out of your comfort zone and ensure that you are running your business based on your own values and within your own boundaries. Although I’m usually super clear on my own business purpose, once in a while I’ll lose my way and start to feel a bit wobbly about it all, or it starts to feel like my purpose is evolving and I find that kinda scary. (I usually feel this way when I’m on the brink of taking things to the next level.)
You know what that student gave me when she thanked me and gave me the only gift she could afford?
She gave me a brand new purpose for my business.
I write the blog, the e-courses, the live courses, the webinars (etc etc etc) because sentimental bullshit WORKS. It makes people stronger, and it makes ME stronger. That’s why I’m doing it, and that’s why you’re sitting here reading it.
Sentimental bullshit WORKS.
Info on my live classes is here: The Business of Baking on Tour.