MY UNEXPECTED (AND PAINFUL) PATH TO PRESENTATION ENLIGHTENMENT

A Data Story

As a data storyteller, one of my favorite passions is…

wait for it…

to tell stories. Didn’t see that one coming, right??

Well, I have a story for you today that you might find interesting, surprising, and hopefully, inspiring.

I was recently reminiscing about a keynote I gave at the 2018 Women in Analytics luncheon sponsored by the Digital Analytics Association.

I spoke about my journey from entry-level marketing coordinator to professional speaker, trainer, and podcaster. 

But there was a twist.

The journey was shown from a lens of what it meant to be a woman navigating my place in the field of digital and tech and in life.

I told a story that most people in my field of marketing and analytics aren’t aware of. 

It’s the story of why I decided to leave a steady, reliable corporate job for an untested, unproven idea that I could teach other practitioners in my field the fine art and science of presenting compelling data stories.

And to make this looooong story short, my big leap was catalyzed by an awakening I went through after struggling for 10 years to make a difference by presenting my marketing insights.

According to Buddhist philosophy, the path to awakening or enlightenment has two doors:

Kenshō and Satori.

Kenshō is the door through which the vast majority of awakenings happen. It is gradual growth through painful outside experiences. Kenshō requires continual suffering in order to learn and enact change within your life.

Not fun, but effective!

Satori, on the other hand, is the nicer way to become enlightened. 

It is the experience of sudden awakening where a person receives total awareness without all of the inconvenient pain and suffering. It’s awakening through spontaneous insight, not hardship.

So it may not be surprising to realize that most of the influential thought leaders, teachers, artists, and visionaries we know and love weren’t lucky enough to go the Satori route.

As I came to find out.

For the first six years or so, my career hummed along at an OK pace as I gradually rose through the digital team ranks at my Fortune 500 financial institution. 

But I wasn’t moving the needle with my data presentations as I’d hoped, and at the end of each day, I couldn’t find any compelling meaning in the work I was doing. 

I didn’t just want to communicate the results; I wanted to INFLUENCE the results.

While I’d love to say that the big change happened by walking though the door of Satori, kenshō found me first.

At the precise moment that I brought my son into this world.

It was an initiation into motherhood that brought me to my knees. A string of sleepless months triggered a full-blown immune shutdown that kept me bedridden for almost 8 months. 

When I finally had the strength to return to work full-time, I realized that I needed to make the most out of my time away from my child. The lack of momentum and meaning in my work left me feeling empty.

I was ready to stop wasting precious time and start creating the influence I knew I was destined for. And I had a gut feeling that the key was in how I was presenting my work.

So I dove headfirst into exploring every aspect of data presentation, storytelling, visualization, and communication I could find.

And there’s no question that what I found next pushed me towards the greatest enlightenment of my career. 

That everything I thought I knew about presenting data was dead wrong, and that there WAS a better way waiting for me.

When I began to put these new principles into practice, I began to build a reputation in my organization as a subject matter expert, and in the industry, a thought leader.

And through a series of fortunate events that followed, I was able to use my reputation to launch a successful speaking and training business so that I could equip practitioners with the tool belt that I wish I’d had when I started out 15 years ago.

Which led me to launch my tool belt as an on-demand online course called the Data Presentation + Storytelling Bootcamp!

And, it’s not surprising to see why I was able to do all of this considering what’s happening in the field of tech.

Last November, Forrester predicted that data storytelling skills would drive 25% of new hires and promotions of insights professionals in 2019.

And that “data storytelling isn’t just about the data. It requires soft skills that many don’t associate with analytics work — at their own peril.”

I believe that the most effective way for you to avoid the peril and a close encounter with the kenshō kind is to get equipped with a master data presentation approach that took 10 years, a birth, a health crisis, and a LOT of trial and error to piece together.

It’s the hard and soft skill method that enabled me to inspire action, become indispensable, escape the corporate hamster wheel, bring meaning to my experience, and choose my future (if that sort of thing appeals to you).

So if you’re on the fence about joining thousands of other marketers, analysts, and data practitioners like you in building the most important practitioner skill set of the year, it’s time to jump off and write your own happy ending.

Click here to secure your spot before the doors close on this one-time bundle offer at midnight this Thursday, Aug 22nd. 

Are you ready to walk through the Satori door to data presentation enlightenment?

Of course you are. See you in class.

Join me for my next FREE WEBINAR on "How to Present Compelling Data Stories in PowerPoint and Become the In-Demand Source for Insights--WITHOUT Putting People to Sleep!" REGISTER TODAY

Lea is a digital analyst and marketer turned Data Storytelling Evangelist. She trains thousands of digital practitioners and consultants in the art and science of impactful data presentation through her blog and podcast, The Present Beyond Measure Show. Lea is also the creator of The PICA Protocol™, her practical prescription for healthy, actionable data stories that inform decisions, spark ideas, inspire action, and make YOU indispensable.