Last Friday I attended the Rocky Mountain Entrepreneurial Summit (RMES) in downtown Denver. Hosted by an organization called EO (Entrepreneurs Organization), the summit provided amazing speakers and networking - it was a spectacular and inspiring day!
The morning kicked off with an inspiring and motivating talk by Amy Van Dyken - a 6x olympic gold medalist swimmer who, strangely enough, was diagnosed as a severe asthmatic as a child with an allergy to among other things -you guessed it -chlorine! She talked about her olympic pursuits and the things she overcame and my favorite recurring quote in her talk was, "who are YOU to tell ME what I can and cannot do?" Her journey continued with a tragic twist last summer -when an ATV accident left her paralyzed from her belly button down. She spoke of her rehab and the struggles she now faces ... her grit and determination moved the entire room. Remarkable.
Next, we heard from the co-founder of LifeIsGood--- man does he radiate positivity! At his office they say "I get to" instead of "I have to" and he says it creates a totally different -and positive -environment in which to work. I love his company's 10 "superpowers" of optimism:
We broke for lunch and returned to an hour-long Q&A with non- other -than- Mr. Lance Armstrong. It was pointed and akward at times, with the presenter and members of the audience asking some tough questions. Lance remarked that one of the biggest lessons he's learned is that you have to treat people well. You can't burn them or say "you're dead to me" as soon as they try to go their own way. The other powerful lesson he shared from both surviving cancer and winning the TDF 7 times, was to always surround yourself with the best team. Doctors, nurses, surgeons - or teammates, coaches, technicians. He credits his teams both for his survival and his wins.
Next up was an EO alumni panel, which was really interesting - to see the companies these folks have formed, built, and eventually sold -and to hear them tell of how they've done so numerous times and have realized insane successes- was so motivating. Incredible really, when you realize these super-humans put their pants on one leg at a time, just like we all do. They just have the guts to take big risks, pursue dreams, and follow their gut instincts. The common theme among them was that their successes in large part flowed from their embrace of failure - they weren't afraid to try things and fail. They kept moving.
Last, we heard from Aron Ralson, of 127 Hours - the guy who went hiking alone, a boulder fell on his arm crushing it and trapping him in a crevasse, and after 6 days he finally took a dull multi-tool blade and freed himself by both breaking his arm and cutting it off at the wrist. Insane stuff - but the journey as he told it was just incredible. The phases of letting go, saying goodbyes, and finding peace in knowing he was about to die - followed by the sheer will to survive and to get out and live. And THEN to go on living his dream and continuing with his passions despite all he'd be through. Wow.
The summit concluded with a private concert at Red Rocks - the Flobots and the Motets. NOT A BAD Way to spend a Friday!
I became an entrepreneur in high school -when I worked for myself, earning money by teaching piano lessons to kids in the neighborhood. I then formed a personal training and aerobics class instruction business at age 19 -called Defined Fitness Training -which continued through college and law school and continues to this day in my cycling studio! Yes, I'm a lawyer -but I'm also a business owner and entrepreneur at heart. It was fun to spend the day with like-minded souls.