This is totally different from how I first thought I’d announce this!

Her Team Success Genny Heikka

When I first thought about sharing all that’s been going on lately, I envisioned a “polished” announcement letting you know about my new venture. But as things have taken shape, I realized that many of you may be in the same place I was when this all started. And that it might be more helpful (and more real) to simply share my story…

If you know me, you know I’m passionate about helping women. I’ve loved coming alongside so many women over the years — moms, writers, small business owners, leaders — and helping them believe in themselves. If you heard me speak at the Boise Botanical Gardens a while ago, you heard my story about how I felt a pull last year to write less and work directly with women more. (If you weren’t there, just know that the decision to let go of a regular writing schedule and resign from my literary agent’s representation wasn’t easy.)

But sometimes you have to let go of something good to make room for something new.

After I made that shift in where I was spending a lot of my time, doors opened and I stepped through them not really knowing where they would lead.

And I started to see a pattern.

As I found myself getting more requests to meet with women one-on-one, I realized that even though each woman’s situation was different, the things we talked about were similar. Things like how to gain confidence and not compare yourself to others, how to face your fears and overcome challenges, how to discover (and actually believe in) your strengths, and how to take that next step in life, especially if you don’t know what that next step is. Things I’ve walked through and wrestled with, and things I care deeply about.

So I would be sitting there with someone talking through these things over coffee, and my marketing and communications background would kick in, and the next thing I’d know, we’d be going through a really fun (and caffeinated!) personal branding session. It was exciting to see women — some friends, some strangers who had reached out to me — light up as they began to recognize their value and embrace and communicate that value in whatever they were going through.

And as more of these conversations took place, I realized I was operating in my sweet spot. 

It was as if all of my experiences — the years working with women, my time at HP, the writing and speaking, the college classes I taught on leadership and human resources — had prepared me for exactly what I was doing. So I did this big brainstorm session and feverishly wrote a business plan outlining my strategies to help women. I wanted to formalize what I found myself doing organically and help more women, especially through things I had gone through: life and career changes, discovering my purpose and passion, pursuing my dreams, wrestling with fears, finding my unique voice and brand.

I bought the domain (I wanted a name that spoke to the importance of community and team, and to helping women be successful leaders) and I fumbled through creating my own website.

Then, even though I wasn’t sure if I would ever have any real, “paying” clients — and I knew my website totally needed work — I published it and decided to just put it out there. (I also quietly added my site to LinkedIn, joined Thumbtack hoping to somehow get clients, included my url in my email signature in tiny little font, and added a page about it on my personal website.)

And then I did probably the most important thing: I shared what I was doing and my dream for this new business with some friends. Their support and encouragement (and their awesome feedback on how to help my website!) made all the difference.

A couple months passed as I got busy with speaking and with LIFT, and then…

I got contacted by my first client (she found me online).

We set up a coaching session and I couldn’t wait to work with her. But right before our first meeting, as I sat there getting ready for it, a huge case of IMPOSTOR SYNDROME set in. (That’s the whole who-am-I-to-be-doing-this?! thing and that sinking feeling of being totally unqualified.)

I said a few (desperate!) prayers, pressed through the nerves, and went into my meeting with my first official client.

It was amazing. The minute we began, my nerves stopped and were replaced with that calm reassurance and excitement that comes from doing what you were meant to do and being able to truly add value in someone’s life.

I’m happy to report that she didn’t run for the hills. In fact, we are still working together and it’s been incredible. I’m also happy to share that since then, more doors have opened with new clients, new opportunities to work with companies, and new speaking engagements. It’s been an exciting adventure and I know I have a ton more to learn.

But here’s what I’ve learned and have been reminded of so far:

1. Giving up something good is hard (but incredibly freeing).

2. Stepping into the unknown is scary (but amazing).

3. Putting yourself out there in a new way makes you feel REALLY vulnerable (but it opens doors to opportunities you would never see otherwise).

4. Investing in people is what really matters (and the relationships and life changes that happen when you do make everything worth it).

5. Taking risks is better (and way less terrifying) with friends by your side.

The other thing I’ve been reminded of is that before I even took one step into this unknown territory of opening my own coaching and consulting practice, there were others who had gone before me–and that gave me courage. In fact, when I started this journey, one of my LIFT co-founders, President of Platform Idaho, Kirsten Holmberg, had already walked this path of forging new territory. Her experience and the way she just did it made me more confident that I could too.

And that’s why I’m sharing this whole long story with you instead of just announcing HerTeamSuccess.

Because I hope if there’s something you’re longing to do, or something you’re being challenged to give up to make room for something new, or unknown territory you’ve been wanting to step into–that you do itThat you put one foot in front of the other and not worry so much about the outcome or if you are “ready,” but instead recognize the unique value you bring to the table, believe in yourself, and take a chance.

And when you do, be sure to enjoy the journey along the way.

Because it’s awesome.

ps. In other super fun news about equipping and encouraging women: Our new LIFT video is out! It’s a short 3 minutes and captures on film the BEST part of what we do–hearing from the women whose lives have been impacted!