“When you don’t ask for the impossible, God thinks it’s an insult.” – Michele Thornton, Motivated Mom Tour 2017, Houston
Let’s sit with this for a moment. Are we limiting ourselves? God? Have we placed boundaries on how far we are willing to dream? What is the source of our limits? Is someone else in our head dictating our dreams? If so, who is it?
When I received the invite from Julie O Griffith to attend and interview the panel at the Motivated Moms Tour facilitated by LaToyia Dennis during SB51 week in Houston, I was extremely excited to meet and ask Michele questions. I stayed up late and was up at 4am researching her and preparing my questions. I even sent an IG message to her posing my questions and informing her what I would be wearing at the event (yes, an unapologetically bold ambitious move). For those who are unaware, Michele Thornton is the SVP of Television Sales for Centric TV and is a negotiations veteran whose clients include CNN, A&E, The History Channel, Screenvision, and The Weather Channel just to name a few. This extremely successful, accomplished, gorgeous, funny, approachable, grounded, witty, intelligent woman did not graduate college until age 30, dated the wrong men, at one time cleaned houses for a living, did not get married until recently after being with her now husband for years and having children together, and experienced the loss of her father from cancer.
Why does she (and I) share this information? Because it is absolutely imperative for other women to see there is more than one path to accomplish your dreams and live your best life. Yes, some people meet the love of their life in high school or college, get married, have 2.5 children, discovered and entered into a career they love, thrive in it and have healthy relationships with their colleagues and family. But for others, their path is a bit more curvy and may include road closures, construction and in some cases require an entirely different route altogether.
Michele’s level of honesty and vulnerability is quite possibly one of the qualities I admire the most about her. It is very easy to become disconnected when one continues to successfully climb the corporate ladder, enters various tax brackets, socializes in exclusive circles, and has a network that includes people many will only see via television. Pretty is easy. Making money requires skills but this is also doable. However, there are qualities that can only be acquired by becoming them, these include compassionate, respectful, honest, being grounded, humble and kind all of which I witnessed Michele exude effortlessly with all whom she encountered at the brunch.
“Never walk into a room and NOT know who is there.” – M. Thornton
Do you prepare before you attend an event or function? Are you passing out your business cards like they are hor d’oeuvres? Do you just accept business cards and throw them in your bag without taking the time to look at it? Do you forget names? Do not follow up after meeting? Do not research who they are before contacting them? How has this approach worked for you?
Life and business are about relationships and the same way you would not enter into a marriage with someone you just met, individuals do not enter into business without knowing each other as well. This is why I stayed up late and was up at 4am researching the women on the panel and drafting very intentional, specific questions for each woman. I knew who was going to be in the room and I reached out to Michele because I wanted her to know I would be in the room looking to connect with her. How did this pan out for me? Well Michele shared my technique with the group while she moderated the panel and stated that research shows 1/100 people will follow up until there is an outcome. Are you that 1 out of 100? I know I am!
So what are the takeaways?
- Do your research! Be prepared and know who is in the room prior to entering.
- Think relationship building when networking. Become interested in sustainable partnerships instead of one-time exchanges.
- Craft an interesting ‘elevator’ pitch one that makes you stand out, be creative.
- Practice the art of conversation. Tweet-like conversations do not lead to sustainable relationships.
- Support others dreams and others will support you.
- Dream big!!!! Unapologetic, bold, ambitious, massive dreams!
- Invest in yourself: degrees, certifications, training, THERAPY, etc.
Michele is the author of Stratechic: Life and Career Winning Strategies for Women, a wife, mother and advocate for women using their voice, asking for what they’ve earned, investing in self and learning how to and perfecting networking and relationship building. The Stratechic Framework focuses on the following 10 areas:
- Self-awareness is non-negotiable
- Transform your circle
- Relationships are critical
- Ask for what you’ve earned
- Turn up your social game
- Execute your plan
- Capacity conquer when things aren’t good
- Help others – serve your way forward
- Invest in yourself and
- Craft your story and sell it.
“Respect has the power to open doors.” Well said and I thoroughly agree Michele. – Misha N. Granado, MPH, MS