If you think fostering a community online through Facebook Groups and info products create a false sense of reality, I can reassure you that it’s far from that. I’ve seen many successful influencers bring their online communities together and was once skeptical that people could somehow become besties after exchanging comments through Facebook groups. When I finally had the chance to travel to London to meet my first digital community in person, it was the most real, authentic experience that taught me 6 very important life lessons:
CREATING STRONG COMMUNITIES
First, London Real Academy created an experience by using the below factors for a strong community that anyone looking to start a Facebook Group should consider:
Core values: Love. Respect. Honesty. The core values in the group were respected throughout the 9 week mentorship. When we followed these values, it freed us to focus on our businesses.
Diversity: Different parts of the world, different ideas and different skills allowed us to learn more from each other. In return, we learned what we had to offer the world.
Unity: I’ve never met a successful person who became a success alone so they teamed us together with some healthy competition. And when the business turns upside down for your teammates, if you show them love, everyone will become more passionate about the team’s mission.
FUN: And anyone who was successful by themselves definitely didn’t have any fun. I looked forward to the weekly calls and seeing everyone’s progress. Fun is where the fulfillment is, so never leave it out!
YOUR ACTIONS DO MAKE AN IMPACT
Before I left for London, a close friend throughout the journey, Dorothy, sent me a detailed message with all the directions I needed to get from Gatwick to Central London. My flight was arriving close to the start of the event, and I would barely make it. Needless to say, without her, I would not have found my way through the city, so she was my guiding light.
When I met Dorothy in person, I wanted to thank her, but her words for me were unexpected. She said I was her “beacon of light” and that when she felt lost she followed the steps that I was taking. I dove headfirst, sometimes aimlessly, into the course and that helped her take steps too. I never thought doing the work, taking risks and staying up late at night trying to solve different problems made an impact, or that anyone even noticed, but she did. So I have to stay on track for her too.
STEP INTO THE SPOTLIGHT
Before I signed on for the course, I envisioned myself sitting in the leather chair across from Brian Rose and being on the show. When I got the confirmation email that I would be interviewed, I was so happy but nervous that I would say something stupid or left saying “uh” and “um” on camera. But after having interviewed people behind the camera, like any director and producer knows, the most important thing I could be on camera is, myself.
So I was authentic, and I thought I was a brash, bumbling idiot who broke down and cried. But after the show aired, I got a message from a close friend and I once again had faith in who I am.
MEETING YOUR MENTORS IN PERSON IS A MUST
I thought the most I would get from a mentor was a hug or a handshake before they sent me on my way. I had always been treated like a number before by executives, celebrities and other mentors. I’m not someone who likes a lot of recognition and I don’t need it, but I respect Brian Rose (right) and my Team Leader, Julian Bailes (left), very much and I hoped that I had earned their respect despite all the resistance that I had throughout the course.
Brian pushed me hard without even knowing it. He broke my ego every time he called me an overachiever. And after pouring out my transformation to him through my stories on live video, I was so moved when he said that I am good at writing, and how much value I can give. I can’t remember the last time someone saw potential in me the way he and his team at London Real did, and from this moment on I refuse to hold myself back from having success.
I would get so mad at Julian for not giving me a ton of feedback with my progress in the course. After working with harsh critics, editors and producers, I was used to feedback and expected it. But with Julian I got something better, he always pushed me forward; he asked me repeatedly, did I apply for that Ted Talk? Did I reach out to Influencers? What will I do next and when will it get done? As I said goodbye to him, he told me, “don’t stop, keep going,” and that’s when it hit me, I was always looking back to be perfect instead of looking forward to progress. And, I can check yes, because I did get those things done.
DINNERS WITH FRIENDS ARE THE BEST NIGHTS
When in London, I spent many nights out until 4 am dancing and drinking with friends. And while living without inhibition is one of the best guilty pleasures of travelling, the best nights I had in London were having dinner with friends.
It didn’t matter where. I was in a flat with 10 other people sipping some Port wine that Jorge Fonseca brought from Portugal, listening to his stories. Or enjoying an 8 course meal, listening to Team Leader, Alex Melia, share how he didn’t take no for an answer and how he is unemployable, (goals I had for myself — 1 out of 2 now completed). Or bargaining with different restaurant owners to get the best dinner deal and walking around Spitafield’s market with Dorothy. When I have the chance to swap stories and share laughs, I am much more appreciative and recreate the experience when I invite my guests to my table.
YOUR NEW FRIENDS WILL SAVE THE DAY
And sometimes, you meet such wonderful, generous, kick ass people that have the most perfect timing.
I usually over pack when I travel, but this time I brought way too many clothes and not enough panties. When I realized that stores in London close at 6 pm on Sundays, my new friend, Sara Groom, who owns a panty subscription company, Luv My Skivvies, saved my ass. Literally.
And if you must know, right now they’re red.