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“Let’s split it.”

As she said the words, my stomach immediately dropped. “Noooooo,” I groaned loudly in my head. With dim lighting from small white tea lights, I read over the receipt: my vegan quesadilla was $11.

As I walked through the streets of the East Village, I played the night back in my head to make sense of what had just happened. Was $37 really worth the experience I had just had?

Dinner was actually wonderful. Earlier that day, I visited Day 1 of a conference I was speaking at on Day 2. An industry leader I sincerely respect and admire was the final speaker of the day and when I went to greet her, she invited me to dinner. Of course, I said yes!

At dinner, we joked about the slow wait staff, laughed about our favorite bands of the 90s, and talked business strategy. She had just given a speech on how she has created a 7-figure online business by being herself, being visible even when she didn’t know what was about to happen, and staying 110% focused on her own work.

Her assistant had recorded her video using Facebook Live and when she showed me the footage, I was so excited! “This is so cool – I haven’t done Facebook Live yet!”

Her eyes opened wide, her jaw dropped, and she yelled at me: “Did you not just hear ANYTHING I said in my speech??! Were you not listening??” Not only was she in shock, she almost seemed mad. “Alionka – you HAVE to use Facebook Live. You have to. You have no choice. You have to use it.”

I laughed it off and (luckily) moments later, the waiter finally showed up with our food. The conversation moved on but I couldn’t stop thinking about it for the rest of the night. As I walked home, I thought about it again. How can I make this $37 vegan quesadilla worthwhile?

The very next day, as I stood doing breathing exercises before I went onstage, it hit me: “I’m going to ask someone to record this using Facebook Live.” The rest, as they say, is history.

Now, this story could be about paying too much for vegan food – but what it’s really about is surrounding yourself with people who are farther ahead of you. It’s about allowing yourself, no matter where you are in your own life, to be the student for just a moment.

By listening to this woman’s advice, I reached over 10x the number of people who were supposed to see my speech. There were around 110 women in the room the day I spoke – but my Facebook Live video has been seen by 1.7K people. Along with that impact, I was hired for two more speaking engagements by people who had seen the replay of the recording. I also received an abundance of texts, messages, and opportunities – all from people who had seen the video of me speaking.

This was all because of listening to a leader in my industry. So, I invite you to reflect on this:
Who are the leaders in your field you most want to connect with?

Leave your answer in the blog comments below – I read every response and sincerely look forward to connecting with you here.

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