“I’ve Started Taking Steps to Share Myself with the World”

“I’ve Started Taking Steps to Share Myself with the World”

by Susan O' Malley, MD

The world is full of smart people and many of them are in Quantum Leap.

I learned two important lessons in Quantum Leap: How to find my way and how to find another way.

I started Quantum Leap lost and searching. When I joined, I had already written my book, Tough Cookies Don’t Crumble: Turn Set-Backs into Success, had been interviewed on a few podcasts, and was getting my speaking career off the ground.

I was proud of my accomplishments but unsure of where they would take me.

Through many twists and turns and with everyone’s help, I do believe I found my voice.

Faith first...

I joined Quantum Leap before the ink was dry on my National Publicity Summit check.

Up to that point, the only leap I had taken was a leap of faith. I didn’t know what I could get out of the program or even what I wanted. All I knew was I had extensive conversations with a few people at the Summit who were already members and they had nothing but high praise.

These were smart people who had already achieved a level of success. I believe in the power of coaching and had a coach who had taken me as far as I knew she could, so I was ready.

I purchased a ticket and flew to Philadelphia for my first Quantum Leap meeting.

While I was there, I met this guy.

He was gracious enough to sign my favorite 10-year-old, faded, dog-eared book,

And my journey began.

But I saved the biggest leap for last. After all the door knocking and hand wringing trying to get major media attention, FOX News.com picked up my third Entrepreneur article and shared it with the world!

It’s ironic I started my journey by questioning if I was on the right track. I think The Little Engine that Could has turned into the freight train from My Cousin Vinny, shaking the walls as she passes through.

What a ride!

I left the Quantum Leap meeting in November jazzed and excited.

But within a few months, I was wondering if I made the right decision.

All the pitches I sent out to major media were ignored. At that time, a pitch took me four to five days to put together, which was exhausting and made the rejection that much harder to take. I am, at heart, a practical girl and wondered if the universe was trying to tell me something, but Geoffrey assured me I was making progress and should “keep swinging the bat.”

It seemed no one was interested in my message of perseverance and personal responsibility. Geoffrey suggested I speak to other coaches. I was so confused in my own mind that I thought I would be wasting their time. “That’s why we’re here,” he said over and over again, until I finally believed him.

Learning from others...

The Quantum Leap Facebook page was a constant source of inspiration and motivation. It is a safe place where we value each other’s opinion, champion each other’s success, and give honest feedback. It is all given and received with respect and love.

One of my fellow members made a Facebook post that changed my life.

He’d written an article for Entrepreneur.com and shared it with the group. I was so inspired that I found the application online and pitched them. I sent him an email, letting him know how his accomplishment propelled me into action.

He was kind enough to make an introduction to his editor and now I am also a contributor to Entrepreneur. My first article received over 3,300 social shares and was trending for days!

The editor, who has since left Entrepreneur, shared with me she always wanted to write a book. I sent her a copy of Tough Cookies Don’t Crumble and shared my exact process for getting it from my head to the paper. My book inspired her to start her own. She has now started writing and sends me pages to critique.

I guess Quantum Leap turned me into a coach after all.

I spoke at the Bryant University Women’s Summit and also to an entrepreneurial class at the University of Tampa. Although neither one of these gigs were a direct result of Quantum Leap, they made me realize the importance of revamping my website from an author’s site to a speaker’s site. Brian coached me through each page and each sentence. I made every change he suggested.

Shortly thereafter, I was contacted by a major corporation, who found me online, to present my How to be a Tough Cookie message. I had never negotiated a speaking fee, so Geoffrey coached me through the negotiation process. Because of that training, I was totally at ease when price entered the conversation.

I actually turned down the gig because once I gave the presentation, the corporation would have had the rights to my intellectual property. So Quantum Leap not only taught me how to negotiate but also gave me the courage to walk away from a coveted corporate gig.

Facing challenges

When my son relocated from Washington, DC to Chicago, he found himself with no job and no support system. My broken mother’s heart was reaching out to everyone I knew, Geoffrey included. I apologized if I was breaking any Quantum Leap rules, but I was compelled to ask for help.

Geoffrey wrote back immediately and suggested I post it on the Facebook page because we have people from all over the country in the group. I never did, but just knowing I could was very comforting. That interaction solidified for me that I am part of a community, not just a coaching program.

When I struggled with expanding my Tough Cookies message, which is geared toward female entrepreneurs, into a corporate message with value for men and women, Geoffrey helped me come up with a new angle: Everything I Know About Business, I Learned in the Emergency Room.

I played it over and over in my head for a week, until it morphed into Entrepreneurial Lessons from the Emergency Room and finally to Leadership Lessons from the Emergency Room.

When I mentioned the idea to the former Global CEO of Deloitte, who put down his fork to listen to me, I knew it was a home run. 

Leaping into Victory...

I spoke at INBOUND and was invited back the next year to present my new Leadership Lessons from the Emergency Room to the Executive Track. They even used my picture in their marketing materials! The conference attracts over 15,000 people. Were it not for the phone call with Geoffrey, I would have never come up with this idea. The possibilities are endless!

Through conversations with Danette, Gail, and Geoffrey, I have come to realize my message is not only one of perseverance and personal responsibility. It is broader than that.

My message for entrepreneurs is why it’s better to start a business after age 50; for executives, it is leadership lessons from the ER and why you don’t have to be in medicine to use them; and for anyone needing motivation it is how to go from underdog to top dog. I’m bursting at the seams with excitement!

Once I had a direction, I placed the call to Dr. Rob who helped me fine tune my speaker’s website and shared with me his exact method for booking corporate gigs. Anyone who lands on my site knows exactly who I am and what I do.

But more importantly, I do, too, and I’ve started taking steps to share myself with the world.

This post is adapted from an essay Susan wrote as her entry in our "How I Made My Quantum Leap" contest, in which Quantum Leap members wrote about the difference the program made for them and their careers.