The Adventures Of Funnelhacking Live 2019
This is the first time in ten days I’ve opened up my laptop to write. It’s been torture not being able to write in real time- all the things that happened at Funnelhacking Live this week – but the impact on my heart is strong enough that the emotion of it all is right under the surface still, ready to spill out.
This will be Funnelhacking Live through my eyes, which I realize is just one of 4500 perspectives. I’m just a sliver of an angle, but if we all share our slivers together, it creates a breathtaking diamond that shines a story of hope and impact and meaning for all entrepreneurs.
I hate goodbyes, and last night was no exception.
At the Hickory Steakhouse with the ClickFunnels team, it took me a solid 45 minutes to say my goodbyes. With each one, my eyes blinked harder and harder, trying to push the emotion down.
We’d just – as a team – pulled off one the most life transforming weeks 4500 people had ever seen. I wish I could explain the team’s work ethic in a way that would make you love them just as much as I do. You know how in a sports team, there’s maybe one or two star players and then the rest support them? That’s not this. Every single person is a star player.
- Early mornings, late nights, last minute designs and funnels and changes of plans….
- Patiently answering questions, running orders and forms, handing out swag….
- Near 24/7 video and photography capturing every single moment of the event…
- Setting up chairs, manning doors, and high fiving 4500 funnel hackers…
All of them did it happily and with insane amounts of energy.
There was not one moment where I reached out to someone to get me something, report a stat, make an adjustment, and wasn’t immediately helped. And not only that, many of these behind-the-scenes staff members took time out of their day to come up and ask how I was in the craziness of being “on” for an entire week.
As I left the Hickory last night, I wiped my eyes and reminded myself that it wasn’t goodbye really…because I get the honor and privilege of working with this team every day, and that is not a gift I take lightly.
The week was filled with highs and lows…as any high intensity event is. It’s impossible to feel the great high of pride and joy and ecstasy, without also feeling intense amounts of stress and pressure and nerves too. And I want to share it all with you.
The trip began with the longest road trip of my life (warning – I will cry as I write this…it’ll be impossible not to).
Somewhere in my brain I thought it would be a good idea to stuff my family of six into a minivan and drive 15 hours to Tennessee over the course of three days. I didn’t think about how annoying it would be to travel with a raging fever-ed preschooler. I didn’t think about how it would feel to be in the back seat of a minivan for 10 hours trying to keep him comfortable. I didn’t think about the logistics of stopping at two different hotels and all the packing and unpacking that I would have to do. I didn’t think about the stress of driving through the dark windy mountain roads of Knoxville trying to find an Emergency Room that would help Alex and I bring down William’s 105 fever.
That’s how the trip started. Alex and I remained a team throughout it all, all hands on deck, the entire drive down to Nashville.
What I failed to mention was that the entire way down, I was suppressing the rising anxiety I had about my decision to bring my entire family.
You see, the night before we left, I had a showdown with Ellie’s therapist, who made a recommendation I didn’t agree with. It was a drastic recommendation that would have meant she couldn’t come to Funnelhacking Live. The therapist subsequently fired us and called the school to report me as not following recommended medical advice. It was testing all my courage.
Here I was, staring down professionals who told me that my choices were incorrect, and even though I knew her coming along was the right move, in that tiny squished car trying to deal with William being sick, I questioned whether I could be a support to her, plus all my kids, my husband, and all the team members and customers depending on me.
That’s how I arrived.
In marketing, we talk about pre-frame a lot. That’s the mood/energy state/perspective that your customer comes into your funnel with. If you pre-frame your customer properly, it’s way easier to sell. My pre-frame to Funnelhacking Live was infused with a ton of stress and anxiety.
As we unloaded out of the car, our gear and luggage spilling out – the first person I saw was Chad Thibodeaux. He was grinning from ear to ear, a signature feature of a funnelhacker by the way, and gave me a hug and said, “You survived the trip!” Everyone had been watching on Instagram, and in that moment, I let go of the stress and thought, I’m here with the biggest most incredible family ever and they will support me no matter what.
Over the next two days, I think I clocked one comma club worth of hugs. I couldn’t walk more than 5 feet without stopping for a selfie, a hello, a high five, or a handshake. As my kids tagged along, I could see out of the corner of my eye…I was gaining a cool point or two.
- I found my Digital Insiders – the small group of people that I call my Inner Circle – and it felt like home.
- I found more of my close friends fellow 2CCX cruisers – Ashlan, Wallace, Dave, Brandon, Peng Joon, Stephen, Nick, Amanda, and too many more to mention here.
- I found my Yara and James.
- I found my partners – Russell, Ryan, Todd, Brent, John, Dan, and Dave.
- I found my team – Jake, Nick, Karen, Josh, Shane, Myles, Leon, and many many more.
- I found the human that I trust with every detail – my assistant Emily.
The people continued to pile on higher and higher.
- There was Stu and Amy, Toby & Kim, Ethan, Nichole and Josh, Pete – amazing hearts I traveled to Kenya with.
- Reese and Yael and other CYLLers that nearly toppled me to the ground with hugs.
- Inner Circle members Ryan and Brad, Stacey and Paul, Bart and Sunny, Alison Prince.
- ClickFunnels spouses Ashley and Vanessa and Carrie and Collette and Andrea and Amber.
Sometimes when Alex and I are trying to deal with all the stuff at home… we are like an island. We have our family, but very few friends. Definitely no village or community that is filled with an abundance of positivity and connection.
But as the relationships piled higher and higher, by the time Wednesday hit, the weight of human connection and love literally crushed me and my squishy heart into a million pieces. I’m pretty sure I’m the richest human on planet Earth. I wasn’t quite sure how to thank God for such blessing in my life.
The event itself was incredible. The majority of the room was in tears within the first 10 minutes. Russell always does a great job of offering a blend of tactical, strategic, and inspirational teaching. I can’t possibly capture here all the ah-ha moments that rippled through the audience, but it’s safe to say that there were 7-figure ideas and hacks in every presentation. Implementing just ONE of the hundreds of strategies could (and will) completely transform your business.
I might be biased of course, but the branding, design, swag, room, hotel, all of it – was at a level of professionalism and choreography that you don’t find anywhere else. Not even at events with 10 times the budget. And for all the attention to detail, there is equal amounts of attention to each and every story represented in the seats.
I did the best I could to soak in every moment of the event, even though at times it felt impossible. Wearing the hat of wife, mom, influencer, partner, employee, mastermind lead, coach, inner circle member, and speaker tested my emotional resolve.
About 24 hours in, I could tell it was a crazy unrealistic expectation I had of myself that I could navigate the OCEAN of needs/wants in any given moment and make everyone happy.
My Voxer never went more than 1 minute without a message.
I ended up ignoring 99% of messages for just the “hair on fire” moments – Evan’s bathing suit was too big (even though I told him a thousand times to try it on before we left), William’s fever spiked, Nick needed me to review copy for a last minute funnel, last minute meeting places, coordinating dinner plans and reservations, managing online campaigns to match in person logistics, the music needed to be turned up and changed for 2CC awards, gathering coaches to meet new students, reporting 2CCX purchases, and on and on it went.
Navigating the hotel was also a game of fun. That place was RIDICULOUS. It took me til the last day to even get my bearings around the 9 acre atrium covered in walkways and waterfalls and nooks and crannies. And even when I did get the path right, unless I was literally running through the hotel with my four kids lagging behind, I was stopped every five feet for a hello and selfie. In fact, one trip between my room and the convention, I counted 75 selfies.
I’m not complaining.
To have that kind of responsibility, influence, and impact is an incredible honor.
I felt humbled by the number of people touched by my podcast, blog, emails, courses. It reminded me that when you focus on value, everything else you want falls into place.
Watching my kids experience their first Funnelhacking Live, I’m pretty sure I ruined them for regular conferences forever. They LOVED it. And…honestly…they were amazing. Helpful, flexible, easy going, and responsible. Even my 11 year old figured out how to navigate the hotel alone. Evan stayed for sessions I missed, and took pages and pages of notes. Ellie – normally the one who struggles with social anxiety the most – opened herself up to the experience and became a different kid.
She and Eden hung around Alison Prince’s girls’ and speaking of Alison, if you ever get the distinct honor of being this woman’s friend, consider yourself highly favored by God. She has no idea the depth and level of impact she had on me this week.
I think the person who sacrificed the most this week was Alex. He spent so much time searching for grilled cheeses (the only food William was eating), arcading with the kids, taking the kids swimming, staying in at night so I could go out, etc. It wasn’t all roses and sunshine. William was sick for a good part of the event and the responsibility fell on him. I could not have pulled off what I did without his support and love and commitment to the family. It definitely took its toll on Alex.
Emily too. And my dad (who flew down just to hear me speak). All these people behind the scenes that you never see, but are the pillars of support that enable me to do what I do.
As I stepped out on that stage and stared at the crowd before me, I carried every single one of these people on that stage with me. I could see some of their faces in the crowd, acutely aware that they are all a part of who’ve I’ve become. That the ONLY thing we take with us into the next life is our relationships. That’s it. Not money. Not power. Not fame.
People. The relationships we create carry on eternally, with God – with ourselves, and those we love.
That’s it you guys.
That’s the big lesson from Funnelhacking Live. People. People are everything. The people that love you…even when you can’t give back.
I think I spent five minutes with Yara + James the entire time – two of my closest friends. It was such a tease to be in the same place and so unable to connect. There was just too much going on at every moment.
And not every moment was perfect.
There were some difficult moments too.
- Moments where I could see the disappointment on Alex’s face that I couldn’t relieve him of William duty after so many long days.
- Moments of stress when multiple people wanted to connect and in my indecisiveness, I ended up not being able to help anyone.
- Moments when I knew someone was upset with me because I didn’t meet their expectation of what I was supposed to be for them.
- Massive moments of overthinking and getting in my head.
I wonder sometimes if people see me (a speaker, partner, influencer) and think I don’t struggle with insecurity or overthinking. Ohhhh I do. It doesn’t really matter what level you are, you’re still human.
As the newest partner with ClickFunnels, I doubted myself several times – and let my insecurity bring me to tears. In fact, not one hour before I took the stage, I had the worst case of FOMO/left-outness of the entire week and had to pace the halls and blast music to keep myself from falling apart and ruining the 80lbs of stage makeup on my face.
There were several moments that I wanted to make executive decisions…and wondered… “Can I? Am I trustworthy to think this through and make the right call? Will I let the team down?” It was scary to step into that. And it’s hard for people to adjust to a new person in a position of authority because they don’t have the past and time on their side.
Sometimes you get it really right…and sometimes you need others to help show you perspective. In a high pressure situation like Funnelhacking Live, everyone is running at 1000 miles per hour, so it bodes well to always believe the best – and give people the same benefit of the doubt you would want in a high stress situation.
A perfect example of this happened right on the last day, when Garrett White took the stage and brought a young man onto the stage to coach him through the decision making process for 2CCX. It caused a lot of polarizing opinions – from those who felt like he was using high pressure sales tactics and manipulation, to those who saw it as an amazing intervention to get someone to finally break free of fear and step into the unknown.
Social media blew up afterwards, and I personally had an intense reaction to the whole thing. I hate saying the word “triggered” because I feel like it conjures up those cheeky memes that makes the triggered person seem crazy, which isn’t fair or true. When people are triggered, it means they need to look at what it’s doing in them yes….it also could be that there was something “off” in the event too. It’s never black and white, no matter how much we want it to be.
My emotions were on fire as I processed what happened.
And even putting my own feelings aside, there were hundreds of people having the same reaction. And hundreds of people having the EXACT opposite reaction. It was a fascinating look at how differently people perceive the same event.
The good news is that we as a team (I think) handled it very well. We created a safe space for the discussion to happen, and paved the way for respectful debate. It was amazing how it went from negative to constructive in the group when we just created the place to talk openly.
There’s a lesson there. Don’t run from discomfort.
Don’t run from conflict.
Lean into it.
Make space for it. It honestly takes the heat right out of the problem and allows understanding to come in.
For me personally, I knew I needed that too. I needed someone to validate that I wasn’t crazy for feeling uncomfortable, and that was exactly what I needed to allow myself to hear other peoples’ perspectives too. Ones that can help shape my opinions and bring me another way to see the situation.
I don’t resonate with that style of selling, and that’s okay. And it’s also okay that others DO need that. It’s all just okay.
The more comfortable we get with opposing realities co-existing, the more maturity we gain.
I will never forget so many of the moments this week.
- The moment I saw Alex and my kids stand up and clap as I stepped onto the stage.
- The moment I met my dad who’d come down to Nashville, just for me.
- The moment when Russell came up to me and told me I had nailed my presentation and done a flawless job.
- The moment when Emily showed up – just to bring me Advil when I was so busy I couldn’t even take care of a migraine.
- The moment Shane looked at me, gave me a hug, and whispered, “I got you.”
- The moment Yara sent me a squishy “I love you” text as we sat on opposite sides of the room during a live concert.
- The moment I saw Alison and she held me like my life depended on it.
- The moment I watched Ellie listen with tears streaming down her face, to Nicholas’ story.
- The moment my super shy Evan ran up on stage to dance in front of everyone.
- The moment when Nick mouthed, “I’ll take care of it” without me having to even explain myself.
- The moment when Ryan (super busy) took the time to ask me how I was doing…and really cared to hear the answer.
- The moment when I watched my kids listen to Dave Lindenbaum at dinner, and I just knew..their world was changing right before their eyes.
So many more…some I can’t mention here because they were just for me.
It took me about 90 minutes to find all the people in the hotel I had to say goodbye to last night, and even that wasn’t enough. There were so many I never got to touch or talk to again…and won’t see…until the next FunnelHacking Live.
If you’ve never given yourself the opportunity to experience this kind of energy and community and power, you owe it to yourself…and to the future relationships you’re meant to have…to do WHATEVER you have to do to be at Funnelhacking Live in 2020.
And it is my moral obligation to make sure you get there – because I know – without a doubt – that for those who are ready and come with an open heart, there is NO telling where you and your business will go next with that kind of community in your corner.
They’ve got your back. I do too.