A month spent in the company of five trailblazing entrepreneurs changed my startup’s future. Forever.

One month can change your life.

One illness. One layoff. One loss or gain.

In one month my business, a startup run out of our 1936 farmhouse, complete with quaint expressive office, flipped upside down.

Five giants, high-flying entrepreneur visionaries, first blew my mind, then blew up my marketing and coaching company.

It started when I answered a call to fill a content writer position with Andrew O’Brien of Patefactus and his newly-minted The Publicity Guy, both PR powerhouses, handling the exposure and reputations of the biggest brains in business today. And I predict, tomorrow. In traditional look-before-you-leap-figure-it-out-on-the-way fashion, I jumped.

High and hard.

Mindfulness and intentionality settled over me as I waited for his response. I was prepared when it came. At the ready: an updated website and digital portfolio, current and prolific marketing and writing samples that when requested, I’d delivered in less than ten minutes.

Because you strike when it’s hot.

It was, as my teenage daughter is fond of saying, “Gonna get lit.”

Andrew recruited me to interview and write for his clients, some of whom have gone on to become my clients as well. I don’t invite you into my world to blast a mega marketing message and spur virality on any one of us. I want you to step inside because what I have learned in such a quick period of time, reset the rudder on my own path.

The results have even rewritten my Facebook newsfeed, now overflowing with inspirational memes that have morphed into my best internal coach

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These men have changed my game. The following, in incomplete entirety, is what I’ve absorbed from each of them, that if you apply to your business, can change your trajectory:

  1. Andrew O’Brien, of Patefactus and The Publicity Guy fame, taught me about the importance of relationships. Not just from a broad, connecting, desiring-to-increase-my-numbers perspective either. If you want to be in a certain industry, you need to work and play in those circles. Don’t be content with merely offering your services, do it because you believe in what your clients and comrades are doing, too. Because you are authentic and have compassion for people. Because you demonstrate in every moment you want your clients to succeed in growing and managing their dreams. For them. That their existence matters as much as yours. What Andrew lives for is witnessing people realize their visions. He just happens to get paid for it.
  2. Ryan Stewman of Hardcore Closer, has reinforced the vital need to embrace all parts of your individual fire and message. The reason you walk the earth. I have never met a more genuine person who hangs it all out. He is whip-smart, subscribes to what assures the most effective results and is also a survivor, proving effort, grit and good ol’ boys (and girls) can make it to the top through determination, focus and keeping it real. His simplified methodologies allow everyone to achieve. With an infectious vibration and hysterical humor, he ensures all on his team have a blast. I have seen him also, as a man at the cusp, still reaching for more, admitting he doesn’t know everything as he fills his craving for knowledge with an unmatched gusto. He reminds me it’s okay to ask questions.
  3. Russell Brunson, founder of ClickFunnels, and DotComSecrets, possesses a calm, yet excitable energy capable of harnessing the grateful attention of everyone in the room. Russell imbued in me, in our 42-minute interview, that introverts can conquer the extroverted world of massive movers and shakers, and how? He remains focused on his deliverable: making life easier for clients as he gives himself an outlet to verify he’ll show up and own it. The self-professed former shy guy, attends events with his wife, who is known to laugh about how much he talks now. What Russell chooses to do every day reinforces his own remarkable ability to continue to captivate as it motivates others who might feel intimidated or unimportant. Even better? He gives back, paying homage to the ripple effect set by his own hand.
  4. Justin Christianson of Conversion Fanatics, was the first person I interviewed for Andrew. Justin practices humility, and approachability daily. Despite his noted name in the field, he still makes time for getting pizza with his kids. At the end of the day, he lives and works in what is important to him, what sets his unique place in the world. When I asked permission to use his name in this article, he immediately offered any help he could, his message accompanied by an emoji smiley face. His humble nature is memorable and inspires me to live my life in the same way. He even shares his uplifting self-talk on his Facebook page regularly. A sampling of what he imparts, The only way to get what you really want is to know what you really want. The only way to know what you really want is to know yourself. The only way to know yourself is to be yourself. And the only way to be yourself, Justin, is to listen to your heart. I do, ~The Universe.”
  5. Scott Oldford, a growth and marketing expert, is most recognized for runningInfinitus and inventing the sexy funnel through the SSF system. With such acclaimed and lofty goals met, one might think Scott has no need to revisit his own vulnerabilities, but accepting himself and respecting his journey are imperative to keeping his feet on the ground. During our interview, he easily vacillated between dipping into his deep font of intelligence, obviously an apprentice to his mind’s constant whirling machinations, and discussing his personal history with ease. Scott taught me it was alright to have made mistakes; he overcame $726K in debt, then in rapid succession made $1M in profits. Through him, I understand, we need to fail in order to fly higher. We can own our missteps, yet not become prisoner to the past. His sheer belief in himself might be defined as recognition of a partnership with the universe. No matter where he is, he welcomes his truth.

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What these incredible and inspiring men don’t know about me is that I return to what they have shared with me time and time again. They make me hungry, not for money, or possessions, but for greater happiness. For ease in my space and in this industry, to continue to grow my fervor and help people in my expanding circle.

They also don’t know I am sick.

In December 2014, I had to stop working as a web administrator at a regional furniture company and swiftly conjure a business to help support my family. I am a fighter, too, as they are, manifesting a flaring determination. Some days even though I have trouble walking, and my body burns and loses sensation erratically, or I might have to be pushed through the grocery store in a wheelchair due totransverse myelitis, I power on to the finish, too. Whatever that means. Whatever it looks like. I am rewriting my own limitations and I have far fewer than I anticipated.

We all have more power than we believe.

One month taught me to rethink my possibilities.

Gifted me with the validation positivity is what moves us forward. Let me know, I am in the exact right spot, interacting with modern-day masters who simply can’t stop advancing. Who have no control over their philanthropic and stirring spirits.

Our connections are not coincidental.

My journey is now emboldened by theirs, redirected through their transparency and humanity.

I will pay it forward.

Original article appeared at The Good Men Project. Reprinted with permission.

Photo credit: Getty Images