Misti Burmeister
author, speaker, executive coach

Misti Burmeister

Misti Burmeister, author of "From Boomers to Bloggers," founded Inspirion Inc. and specializes in speaking, executive coaching, and generational diversity in the workplace.

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Inviting ourselves to the party

Q: Does success breed success? Are people more likely to succeed if they wind up with a successful organization like the New York Yankees or performing beside stars such as Derek Jeter? How often does the expectation and aura of success become a self-fulfilling prophecy?

Success does not require that you "be" in a successful environment, though it does help tremendously. Being in the right environment ensures high-level conversations are happening and the right resources are available.

Having spent my childhood involved in negative activities and coming from exceptionally humble beginnings, I understand the challenge of learning new ways of thinking. New ways of thinking about what I'm capable of, money, relationships, and even new ways of thinking about myself. Role models are exceptionally important and the people we surround ourselves with can make all the difference.

The messages we hear if we are a part of Harvard or performing with stars such as Maya Angelou will, without question, be radically different from those we would hear were we a part of a small community college or spending time with an unknown, struggling artist. Harvard and Maya Angelou are likely to command a level of performance many of us never thought possible; whereas others simply allow for meritocracy.

Several months ago I decided to focus on developing my speaking abilities. To get to the next level as a speaker, I needed more education, fresh ideas and new skill sets, but, like in past years, I still resisted (at first) going to the National Speakers Association's (NSA) National Conference.

Thank goodness for the wisdom of our friends and colleagues! Several started pressing me to go. I spent weeks cataloging every possible excuse not to attend but eventually gave in; knowing that doing so would put me in the right conversations and instill a new level of performance on the stage.

During one session, a keynote speaker recalled his first NSA experience 20 years ago. "I remember thinking, 'Oh, there's the bar.' " That's exactly how I felt as I listened to him rock the stage.

That phrase has helped me understand that it's best to admit (to myself and others) that I don't know it all, contrary to my self-training. The conference taught me to come back to the basics and refresh myself on things I can now look at with fresh perspective -- and to always be willing to learn.

That said, yes, success does breed success and it's up to us to create or find a way to get involved in the conversations that push us to reach our potential.

By Misti Burmeister  |  November 6, 2009; 5:24 PM ET  | Category:  successful connections Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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