by Denise Michaels

At a conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, I met a protégé that later became a good friend. During a day of sightseeing we took a break and had lunch at a quiet restaurant. The sun was streaming through the windows inviting us to sit back, enjoy our conversation and ask for another cup of tea.

Lisa is an EMI Protégé and InfoPreneur has done some amazing things during the past year. She’s smart, funny, pretty and her face lights up when she smiles. She’s amazingly focused on success and I believe she has the persistence to make it happen. She has broken tough obstacles courageously and stepped beyond her fear at times to new heights.

But I could tell she was procrastinating and holding back from taking the next steps necessary to create her success. I asked her what she needed to have happen next so she could move confidently in the direction of her dreams.

She confided in me that because she doesn’t have a scholastic degree in the area in which she wants to speak and become famous, she’s afraid she doesn’t have all the credentials necessary. She doesn’t quite understand the value in her amazing success story without a college degree. She’s walking her talk and has made her area of interest her obsession and her career during the last ten years.

Lisa also told me she was afraid of taking the next step of going to organizations that might have her as a speaker. She is afraid she might experience rejection if she picked up the phone and called to inquire about the possibility of speaking for them.

I told her, “Nobody suddenly tells you you’re an expert and gives you permission, Lisa.” I also reminded her of something I’ve heard Robert Allen say a number of times. “The word guru means ‘Gee, you are you.’” Some people will love you and hang on your every word; others won’t resonate with you at all. You have to be okay with that to be successful and come into the light. You’ll have lots of fans and a few detractors.”

She leaned forward on her elbows. “When do you think would be a better time to claim your expertise – now or now?” I asked her.

A slow smile lit up her face in the lazy afternoon sunlight. “I think it should be about now,” she said brightly.

Don’t wait for permission to start – whether it’s info-preneuring, real estate, Internet or other income streams. Creating streams of income is not like a regular job where in many ways you have a gun to your back to perform every day or you don’t get your paycheck. You must be self-directed and when you see that you’re stopping short of doing what it takes you’ve got to ask yourself the tough questions. Is fear holding you back?

It’s easy to hold back with the gray, amorphous cloud of fear. It’s easy to feel like you want someone, anyone to take you by the hand every step of the way. And yet as great as I believe the training to be in the EMI protégé program – you still have to do it on your own. You still have to figure out why you’re not taking action, find a solution and then take the next steps.

As a coach, I have learned that in the vast majority of cases what’s holding students back has nothing to do with not having enough “how-tos” and everything to do with a crisis of confidence in some way, shape or form.

As Lisa and I were pulling on our jackets and leaving the restaurant I said to her, “A leader is someone who goes first.”

She pondered that thought for a moment and looked at me with a wry grin as we walked onto the busy city sidewalk. “A leader is someone who goes first. Hmmmmm… I guess that means I don’t have to ask permission to do anything,” she said. “That’s a pretty amazing idea,” she said nodding her head in understanding.

“Well, Ben Franklin said, ‘the only thing we have to do is die and pay taxes’ but other than that I suggest you keep moving forward and if somebody stops you, then you can apologize and say, “Oh, I didn’t know I couldn’t do that.”

Stop waiting for others to say, “Okay, you’re enough. You can do what you want now. You have my blessing.” It will never happen. You have to say that to yourself and give yourself permission.

Most people take the path of least resistance. That path means taking a job and waiting for other people to give you what they believe you’re worth. That path also means asking permission like you did of your parents when you were a child. Claim what you want and behave with purpose and conviction. It will make a world of difference in how people treat you and perceive you.

Remember – a leader is someone who goes first.

Graduating from Central Michigan University in with a Bachelor’s Degree, Michaels majored in both Business-Marketing and Journalism-Advertising. For over 20 years, Denise M. Michaels has been a successful marketer. From advertising to market research, from public relations to strategic planning and sales, she has done it all. She understands the powerful impact of our communications on others. She is a busy Tele-class and Workshop Leader, Coach and Mentor, supporting Robert Allen’s elite Protégés in their entrepreneurial and marketing endeavors. She has helped countless people do more and be more while creating exciting cash flow streams. Protégé, Dan Rendsland of Texas, says, “Denise has challenged me, inspired me and supported me to take positive action by simply following her step-by-step methods for becoming an Enlightened InfoPreneur . . . My business is expanding exponentially with a positive cash flow and an increasing client base