Why You Can’t Give Up When Times Get Tough
February 24, 2019

I settled into my swivel chair and popped open my laptop. I had an hour until the workshop began. It’d be just enough time to practice once more and send last minute reminders to my attendees.

Leaning back in my chair, I clicked on the link that led me to the sign-uplist. I had been running remote workshops like this every month for the past five. I was getting good at it. Last month I had 15 people show up, which had been my best turnout yet. Today I was planning for a similar crowd.

Waiting for the list of attendees to load, I smiled at the ceiling. Things were on the up. I had been taking on clients at a great clip and my workshops were starting to make a splash. One woman who attended back in November experienced a huge breakthrough in her business.


I felt my mind wander into a pleasant daydream. For a moment, I saw myself on stage in front of thousands. The crowd hung on every word I said as I made the final remarks of my talk. They began to clap as I waved and smiled my way off stage.

I jolted forward in my chair as I came crashing out of my daydream. I thought I was fully out of it but could still hear what sounded like clapping. Looking to my right, I saw someone a few tables down feverishly tapping his pen against the table. There had never been any clapping.


I rubbed my eyes and focused back in on my computer. The attendee list had loaded and I opened it up in a new tab to take a look. When I saw it I must have let out an audible gasp because the guy stopped tapping his pen and looked over at me. Only three attendees? That couldn’t be right. I clicked refresh to make sure it was fully loaded, but there was no mistake. Only three people had signed up this month.

The high of my daydream came crashing down. I felt like I had been punched in the stomach and was gasping for air. Hadn’t I promoted this one just like the last? My mind raced as I thought through my promotional strategy. It was no use. It was too late to get more people to come.


My head dropped into my arms on the table as I tried to regain my breath. My eyes fell on my watch and I noticed the time. Shit. I only had ten minutes until the start of the workshop. How long had I been daydreaming?

Snapping out of my state of self-pity, I dove into some last minute preparation. I had only a minute left when I pulled my attention away from my computer and took a deep breath.

At that moment, I chose to make a shift in my mind. I decided that whoever did show up today, I would make it my duty to serve them fully. It didn’t matter if there was three people or thirty. Whoever attended deserved my best as they had carved out time in their day for me. I made it my mission to let go of expectations and bring all of my enthusiasm to my presentation.


The clock hit the top of the hour and I started the live workshop. Over the next 45 minutes I would give those three attendees my all. I even conducted a live demonstration where I helped one woman overcome a major obstacle she was facing. The small group actually created a good environment for discussion, which had not been possible in last month’s group of fifteen.

At the end of the 45 minutes, I said my goodbyes and thanked them for coming. I shut my computer and leaned back once again in my chair. It seemed to go well but I couldn’t be sure. Who did I have to judge except the three attendees?

A minute later I felt my phone buzz. It was an email from the woman in the workshop. She thanked me and said felt good about her new plan. I smiled and put the phone back in my pocket. I guess the workshop had been worth it after all.


Two weeks went by and I didn’t give the workshop much more thought. In my eyes, it had been just another challenge in the greater game of growing my business. But yesterday, something incredible happened.

I was at a cafe in DUMBO and was about to shut down for the day when I checked my email one more time. It was from the woman in the workshop. After reading a few lines, I realized she was asking about coaching. She wanted to work with me? I reread the email, more carefully this time, but I was right. She really did want to work with me.

I looked out the window onto the East River. What would’ve happened if I had given up that day? What if I didn’t serve her to the best of my ability?Surely, this opportunity never would’ve come to be.

I got up and walked out into the brisk February air. I was grateful that I didn’t give up on my workshop that day and knew now that I would never give up. On the other side of giving up is all the opportunity in the world.




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