I hired Lance Armstrong, the famed cyclist and multi-year Tour de France champ, to be a keynote speaker at a customer management conference I produced a number of years ago.
If I recall correctly, we paid him around $100,000 to deliver a 90-minute presentation, plus answer some questions from our audience of customer service leaders from Fortune 500 companies. Quite an investment in a man to help build our brand and attract hundreds of people to our event.
So when I heard about the allegations that he was the leader of a major doping scandal in cycling, my heart sank. How sad that someone that so many of us had revered as larger than life, had fallen from grace.
As a culture, we LOVE thinking that someone could beat cancer and come back to win a grueling cycling race 7 times in a row. It had never been done before and we so loved the story.
Turns out, it looks like this was just a made-up story, something too good to be true.
Now this isn’t a story to pass judgment on Lance. That’s not my job. I don’t know about his past, or his motivations for wanting to win that badly.
What I do believe is worth telling is what my intuition told ME when I met him at my conference back in 2007 … and what your intuition can do for you as you build your business, your brand and your reputation.
I distinctly remember my excitement when I finally met Lance. Until that point, my only interaction with him was through his agent at the speaker’s bureau where I booked him.
My career path has allowed me to meet many celebrities and famous peeps – the soccer star Pele, model and actress Molly Sims, volleyball star Gabrielle Reece, empowerment guru Tony Robbins, former secretary of state Colin Powell, best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell, and many more.
So meeting celebs wasn’t new for me. I enjoyed seeing how they showed up in the world. Most were pretty warm and appreciative of the business we gave them, some were aloof, and others were kept at a distance by their handlers.
With Lance, my intention when I first met him was to thank him for making the time to speak to our group and to tell him how much his story meant to me, especially since my younger sister died from cancer at 12 years old.
That’s what I did.
His response? He briefly acknowledged what I said, but I remember feeling a lack of depth and connection from him. It was like there was a missing link. I felt bad for feeling that way, but that’s how I felt.
His performance on the stage was alright. I had seen some phenomenal speakers and heard some amazing stories … and I wanted to like him more, especially for the price we were paying him.
Something felt off …
My intuition was speaking to me.
Now, I know why.
He had something to hide. When you have something to hide, it’s hard to bring all of yourself to life. You’re in fear of being found out. I feel really bad for him. That’s a big weight to carry around. Beating cancer was big enough. The doping and cover-up on top was just too much.
If I was still producing big events like that and was about to pay THAT much money to someone to speak at my event, I’d ensure I could meet them before signing the contract to hire them. Too much is on the line to not get a feel for yourself. Your brand and your reputation depend on it.
Yes, your intuition is always speaking to you. Are you listening?
It’s something that you want to use ALWAYS in your business. Listen to what your body is telling you when new growth opportunities appear.
- A new prospective client. How does your energy feel around this person? Are they truly your ideal client? Will they respect your ideas and your boundaries?
- Researching venues for your next live event. Which space feels right? What makes the most strategic sense? Is your venue contact someone you trust and want to do business with? Are they communicative?
- A potential partnership. Are you both on the same page about expectations and goals? Is this the direction you want to go in for your business?
- Branding your company. Which brand design company seems to “get” your vision the most? How much do you enjoy your interaction with potential vendors?
- Choosing a business mastermind and coaching program. Do you feel like you can grow and stretch around the people in this group? Energy attracts like energy. Hang with people who will pull you UP, not drag you DOWN.
How about you? Where has your intuition helped guide you in your biz and life? What does intuition feel like to you? Please share below. See you there!