Recently I had the absolute pleasure of assisting the Keap Academy team as they hosted an intensive workshop. Keap users from near and far made the investment to show up for 2 full days of in-person, hands-on app and strategy training. As a Keap Certified Partner, they welcomed my presence so that that the attendee/teacher ratio was as low as possible. This was amazing, as many attendees got a lot of one-on-one face time with trainers and experts as they strategized and implemented.

Jade teaching at Automation Lab

As “normal” as this event was, to be honest I am still blown away weeks later. I often feel a rush of awe and appreciation after in-person events, but there’s more to it than that. I want to unpack and articulate why I constantly feel that way, and to turn it into a learning moment for us all.

Before I dive in, I want to be clear that I can prove there is a lesson and ROI after all. At the risk of sounding self-deprecating, as an automation consultant I can sometimes be the cobbler with no shoes. I often spend more energy on my clients´ businesses than my own (sound familiar?).

And yet, I find my consultancy to be booming despite not having put together many systems in place for myself. After a couple years of beating myself up over a lack of strategy, I realized I had accidentally been employing a strategy all along — this “show up” strategy.

When in a room full of Keap users, it never ceases to amaze me how varied and eclectic peoples´ strengths and expertises are. Some people are more creative than techie, some are both or neither. When it comes to the app itself, it is equally as fascinating to learn how people’s brains can easily or not-so-easily grasp the automation concepts and execution. I have met business owners with no formal education who can build complex automation systems, and I have met highly educated professionals who require extra time to learn the basics. This recent Keap Academy event was no different.

Jade and Walt

But you know what they all had in common? They showed up. Newbies and veterans sat side-by-side to learn and build automation.

Here’s the kicker, though. The real value they all received at that event had, in my opinion, nothing to do with software. It was the cumulative energy and ideas they got from just being there alongside their peers. They could have watched some of the excellent Keap Academy courses or subscribed to the Monkeypod YouTube Channel, and they would have learned a lot (I still do).

But a limitation there is that they’d be learning from a single perspective, no matter how knowledgeable that perspective might be. The beauty and opportunity lies in the diversity of knowledge, experiences, and expertise combined. (Another example of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts, I think.)

addison automation lab

You see, the blessing and curse of automation and technology is that there are so many ways to skin the cat. Even the simplest of tactics could take shape in dozens of ways. For example, something as straightforward as “landing page collects contact info and then delivers a free pdf lead magnet via email” has so many variations that we couldn’t possibly say “just build it like this” and it would work for everyone perfectly.

To some, this is a challenge, for others – like the kind of people who “show up” – it is an opportunity.

Here lies the lesson: You’ll never know what other possibilities are out there unless you mingle with people who have tried it other ways.

None of us know our own blind spots – that’s kind of the definition of a blind spot.

As I write this today is my 5 year anniversary of joining Monkeypod Marketingˋs OG Membership. Many of you know me as the Community Manager there, but before that I was a paying member.

This is just as true today as it was 5 years ago: I get more value from other people’s questions and ideas than from any question or idea I could have thought to ask. It’s not what you know, it’s what you don’t know.. yet.

Maybe more to the point, it’s WHO you know. If I didn’t invest in myself to have the privilege of sharing space with other creative and smart entrepreneurs and experts, I wouldn’t know half of the cool strategies and tricks that I do.

When I signed up, my company wouldn’t cover it so I paid for it out of pocket – I didn’t know what I’d learn, I just knew I was hungry to be around the people from whom I COULD learn.

sarah watz at automation lab

Even when it comes to tactics and best practices that are too advanced for me or even out of my wheelhouse altogether, I enjoy being around the people who can do the things that I can’t. I surely will need those people eventually.

My partner Brian, a serial entrepreneur, often says that you’re the average of the people you spend time with. What I took from this was to find as many rooms as I could where I was the dumbest one there.

Admittedly, that’s hyperbole. But the lesson is to make sure you’re surrounded by people who know things you don’t – it will naturally start to illuminate and eradicate your blind spots.

jade teaching in theater

So I find them, and I show up, again and again. If you’re searching for a more specific action item, then I challenge you to come to the Let’s Grow Summit, and any and all other events you can swing. Better yet, come find me there so we can hang out and share ideas.

Those Keap Academy event attendees likely think they were fortunate that I was there to share ideas and teach app implementation. But I assure you, I got the better end of the deal.