Rebel Brown
Growth Strategy Specialistrebel_brown

Rebel Brown -- great name, great woman with a great Work BIG story to tell!

Tell us about your background. I've been a successful consultant for over 20 years. My focus areas are business and market strategy, company and product positioning, and go-to-market launches. I’ve worked with companies ranging from start-ups and small business to corporate turnarounds. I've helped over 100 clients across Europe and the US. I even ran a business from Paris for two years bringing European businesses into the US market which was a lot of fun!

I began my consulting business focusing on high technology and complex products for both B2B and B2C audiences.  Since I wrote Defy Gravity, I've expanded my focus to include clients in a wide range of industries and business models.  I’m even working with a great new Zero Gravity thinking MLM business.  I began my career as a sales representative in the large mainframe computing space by selling into financial services and aerospace industries head-on against IBM. That was quite the heads-up for a country gal from a small town.

What BIG obstacles have you faced in your career? Any lessons to share? There have been lots of obstacles — most of them created by myself and my own personal gravity. When I started in business, I was usually the only woman in the room.   I made the mistake of trying to act like a man in a man’s world. There weren't any female role models. It took me decades to learn that my biggest strengths were found in my woman’s intuition and perspectives. Once I learned that, everything became easier.

I also had a lot of issues with my own worthiness. I never could understand why I kept sabotaging myself over and over again. I’d create fabulous things in my life, and then they’d fall apart. Mostly in my personal life. I couldn’t understand it and spent decades in therapy.& Then at the ripe old age of 50, I recovered completely blocked memories of childhood abuse and torture that make Deliverance look like a party. Wow. As I recovered those memories and began to heal, everything fell into place about my life – and my own personal gravity. That shift has been the biggest journey of my life, and I’m blessed to have it. My next goal is writing a book about my journey to healing, and then getting out and sharing my lessons learned with others who had similar crisis-type experiences that are limiting their own potential. We can all thrive, not just survive, on the other side of horror. I blog about about my journey at Thriving on the Other Side.

What prompted you to write Defy Gravity? In all of my consulting clients I saw one common barrier to growth: gravity.  Gravity is the status quo way of thinking about and doing business.  Unfortunately, as our market dynamics accelerate - the way we've always done it becomes the reason for the mess we’re in – unless we shift. To successfully grow in the new economy we have to shift our thinking.  We can no longer let our past determine our future.  What made us successful year ago most likely doesn't work today.

All those paint-by-number strategy processes miss out on the most important element of growth: shifting the way we think about our business.  We can apply as many new strategy processes as we want, but until we shift our perceptions and our approaches to match the reality in our markets today, we'll  not reach sustainable success.

defy-gravityDefy Gravity applies the Principles of Flight to our businesses. Flight is the perfect analogy for today’s world.  Think about it: pilots don’t worry about what happened to them 100 miles ago - they focus forward on what’s coming at them.  If they see a storm, they change course.  If they find better tailwinds, they adapt their flight to take advantage of those winds. We need to do the same in our businesses.

Defy Gravity isn't your typical strategy book.  It's an all-in-one business guide that offers BOTH theory and practical application. It gives detailed instructions for how to create and execute a high-velocity growth strategy using simple questions, guided exercises and compelling case studies. I also offer focused, easy-to-apply exercises to support leaders and their teams to apply Defy Gravity to their own businesses.

What do you think holds most people and/or businesses back, stopping them from defying their own gravity? Gravity exists because we create it.  We are Natural Born Gravity Machines. It’s just in our DNA. However, we're Gravity Machines because we are also Learning Machines. Think about it. We learn from our experiences - good, bad or indifferent.  We learn from our families, our friends, our teachers - in grade school, business school and the school of hard knocks.

We blend all of those lessons to create our beliefs about ourselves and everything else in our world. Those beliefs become our knowns and truths.   Over time, knowns become our status quos, our business legends, and our personal legends.  They become Gravity.

We hang on to that gravity - to our knowns about our businesses and ourselves - because they're safe and comfortable.  The more things change, the more we hang on especially in a scary economy or personal situation.  We hang on even as our world moves on. We hang on even when the way we've always done things is causing us to crash and burn. The good news is that as learning machines we can learn to defy gravity.  The key is questioning ourselves and our knowns, our beliefs and actions, our distinct value, our best market opportunities, and our flight path to success. Defy Gravity includes specifics on how to question those areas effectively and create a flight plan for growth.

Who has inspired you along the way? So many people.  I've been blessed with a number of mentors throughout my career, from CEOs who started out as clients and later became friends, to leading venture capitalists who taught me so much about business, to my own friends who are my family.  I have also been blessed to work with some of the most brilliant minds in business – people who have been so open and generous with their experiences and lessons. The list is endless.  Now it’s my turn to pass on those lessons and coach others.

What's next for you?  I have so many balls in the air!  I’m speaking and also offering workshops on applying the lessons of Defy Gravity to real world business and personal personal opportunities for growth. I've also released a new Zero Gravity system of training DVDs and a workbook, designed to help business leaders apply the lessons of Defy Gravity more extensively to their own organization. I’m ramping up to be a Vistage executive speaker as well. I’m also very excited about an opportunity in which I’m working as a Joint Venture to create the University of Business Success for small and home-owned business leaders that will be available later this year.  And, as always, I’m working with a number of clients on their positioning and growth strategies.


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