Lessons from the road: fears, tears and goat cheese

Get the RSS Feed


Inaugural workshop group in the Bay Area. Photo: Eugene Chan

I am just settling down to recap the first leg of my book tour and workshops in the Bay Area and Portland. I had two amazing groups of warm, supportive and hard-working participants who taught me more than a few things about the concepts covered in my book.

Here are some things I learned while on the road:

Lesson 1:  We need each other

Even though we had large groups in each location, I asked everyone to introduce themselves and give a short summary of their situation so that we got a sense of the different life and business issues in the room.  I knew that by doing so, people could talk at the breaks and hopefully forge a connection that could continue well past the workshop.

I was amazed at the stories, and the variety of life situations. Some people were happily employed but considering alternatives for the longer-term.  Others had quit their jobs already and were hot and heavy in the development of their businesses. And in the case of Portland, we had some really seasoned entrepreneurs like Chris Guillebeau, JD Roth, Tim Berry, Mark Silver and  Matthew Scott who lent their perspective and experience to the group.

I could feel the warmth and support in the room, and was reminded that it is so isolating and scary to make a big life change by yourself.

And as a business owner, I looked around the room with profound gratitude that all these people were paying me their hard earned money to do the work that matters most to me.  Sitting behind a computer all day, I can get lost in my to-do list, and forget how totally amazing it is to be in a position to solve problems that I care about, and serve amazing, courageous and smart clients.


Me and the amazing Lisa Chu. Photo by Eugene Chan.

Lesson 2: Watching someone who has confronted fears and limitations is humbling.

Our first workshop was hosted at The Music Within Us, a music school started by former doctor and entrepreneur Lisa Chu.  I was intrigued by her business when she first contacted me about sharing her space for the event, but was unprepared for the power of her personal story.

The daughter of Chinese immigrants, she was raised with high expectations in her family, and worked extremely hard to meet social expectations of success. She trained violin from the age of 4, got in Harvard, completed medical school, and worked in a high-powered VC firm.

Then, listening to her heart, she moved across country, and opened a music school for children.

She was so clear about her choices, and committed to living life fully that I was moved to tears. It is really amazing to be in the presence of someone who has fears just like anyone and feels societal pressure, but acts anyway.  Lisa, thanks for your generosity and courage. It was very inspiring to me, and I know it was for everyone else in the room.

Read Lisa’s story from her perspective here.


Lesson 3: You will miss opportunities by serving a chunk of hamburger to a goat cheese market.

I have not been to Portland since college. Since I have lots of friends there, I was really excited about going.

From the moment I stepped off the plane, I could feel the healthy vibe. The people walked at a casual and relaxed pace, and bike riders filled the roads.

We held the workshop at the lovely Kennedy School, per my dear friend Mark Silver’s suggestion, and it was a cool, funky and creative space.

For dinner, I was invited to Chris Guillebeau’s house where his wife Jolie made not only a fantastically delicious vegetarian dinner, but served hors-d’oevres that were made with organic goat cheese, balsamic vinegar and hand-picked strawberries.

As someone who gets excited when I remember to defrost a big chunk of hamburger for the family dinner, I was flabbergasted by the care that went into preparing a healthy meal featuring local, in-season ingredients.

And it occurred to me: how often do we market frozen chunks of hamburger to goat cheese with hand-picked strawberries clients?

There are tremendous regional differences in this great country (and globe) of ours, and paying special attention to the needs of a specific market makes a lot of business sense.

Participant impressions

I forgot to share my Flipcam with everyone, but did get a few impressions  from Bay Area participants Jenny Blake and Vonnie and Eugene Chan:


Thank you SO much Bay Area and Portland for your generosity, hospitality and support. I am really excited to hear how your business plans develop.

Remaining Tour Dates and Locations

I have been adding some new cities based on local interest, so here is the latest list (click on date to get full details, and to register):

Seattle: July 10 (Still room, but need to register today)

Chicago: July 17

Washington DC: July 30

Charlotte: August 13

Atlanta: August 14

New York: September 12 (this is a joint workshop with Jonathan Fields – Career Renegade extraordinaire!)

London: Definitely mid-October, finalizing dates!

Filed Under: Uncategorized

16 Responses to “Lessons from the road: fears, tears and goat cheese”

  1. Jill says:

    I’d love to know about when you are coming to London!

  2. […] more people in my Quickstart program, and have marveled at the progress of my clients.  And I have hit the road again for the first time in five years, visiting with people up-close in their own […]

  3. When are you coming to Houston? How can I support you here?

    .-= Rasheed Hooda´s last blog ..Walking the Amazon =-.

  4. Wise words. Thanks for sharing this, especially Lisa’s inspiring story.

  5. Pam, I very much enjoyed spending a Friday with you and the inspiring group in Portland. It was well worth taking the day off from the cube farm, and a great encouragement that I’m on the right track to make my escape soon.
    .-= Mike Stankavich´s last blog ..Short Sale Auction for my Previous Home =-.

  6. Hi Pam,
    Thanks for sharing this. I am so glad we get to see the amazing way you are improving people’s lives. It is inspiring and encouraging.
    When will you be coming to Vancouver??!!
    Take care,
    .-= Andrew Parkes´s last blog ..What Stops You From Helping Others? =-.

  7. Carla says:

    I would have loved to attend your Bay Area workshop, but I found out too late and already had plans to be out of town. I definitely have to purchase an audio of your seminar (if it’s available) and get your book.
    .-= Carla´s last blog ..Financial Prosperity = Planet in destitute? =-.

  8. Pam it’s so wonderful to see you living your mission… and eating good goat cheese while you’re at it! Congratulations on the success of your events.

    This “marketing frozen hamburger to a goat cheese crowd” I think is your new battle cry. I know all through your book you clearly point out your disdain for spammy internet marketing types and I think what you’re really saying is that you’re hungry for some good organic goat cheese, and all you keep getting handed is hormone laced ground beef from a big box store.

    Keep singing this song, sis. Like it!

    .-= Nancy Marmolejo´s last blog ..5 Ways to Build Trust Using Social Media =-.

  9. Vonnie says:

    Pam, Thanks for being the conduit and making all these amazing connections. Escaping cubicle nation is a tricky, but I’m glad that I’m not alone.

  10. Roy Murphy says:

    Cracking stuff. I’m looking forward to hearing about the dates in good ole London town.
    .-= Roy Murphy´s last blog ..roymurphy: what’s that orange thing hanging there? oh right. good. =-.

  11. fas says:

    Those are some lessons. Thanks for sharing. Easier said then done but practising them is whats the need of the hour.
    .-= fas´s last blog ..Make Money Free. Interesting Facts to Bear in Mind =-.

  12. Lisa Chu says:

    I’m so happy to have been able to share my space with you and all of your amazing Escapees. You are creating such a beautiful, widening circle in the world through your courageous work. It was truly an honor to have the chance to speak my story out loud with an audience who could receive it.

    AND, thank you for the photo and link love!


  13. lynn launer says:

    HI Pam,
    Me- the tall red head recovering mental health therapist, you the generous, loving, great hugger. Just wanted to thank you again for the sweet hugs and the powerful moments you gave me in Portland. On a break, I explained how I was still struggling to find my niche as I shift into the coaching world.You asked me who were my people and helped me realize that people could need what I have to give not because they were in pain, but because they wanted more joy and satisfaction in their lives. It seems so obvious to anyone who hasn’t been in mental health for 30 years!This simple concept has changed everything for me-marketing materials, direction, energy, motivation and vision. I am still refining who is on my bus, and seeking out support, but so glad you are on the bus with me. Thank you again Pam. Joy to you! Lynn

  14. Eugene Chan says:

    Pam: what a great time with you in SF. I agree that listening to Lisa was a highlight. I love seeing the coach in you come out and push/pull people into living their goals!

    Thanks for highlighting my photos and chicksandfrogs.com site!

  15. Rena says:

    Love your book! I would love to be able to attend your workshop, but the dates just don’t jive for me. Any thoughts in doing a webinar? Mebo chat? I know that there is nothing like face-to-face, but I’ll settle for second.
    .-= Rena´s last blog ..My Favorite WordPress Plugins =-.

  16. Looking forward to meeting Pam and gleaning insights from everyone on Friday here in Seattle. Finally able to get my first article on Pam and the book posted on Examiner.com. http://bit.ly/GPHZY More to follow.
    .-= Seattle Career Coach Examiner´s last blog ..The great escape – from cube farm to free range =-.