Iron Sharpens Iron Series: Amber Cebull, OG Badass
If you are new to the Iron Sharpens Iron Series, I urge you to check out the inaugural post to learn more about what the series is all about.
Iron sharpens iron, and the people in my life sharpen me. They make me better. They make me more than I can be alone. And this series is about interactions I’ve had that make me better, that change my perspective, and that challenge me to grow.
This is all about interactions that have left a lasting impression on me. No matter how small, or short the interaction, if it leaves an impression worth sharing, it will live in this series.
While there are many people I can point to, and will, that have irrevocably changed my life, no one deserves my very first Iron Sharpens Iron post than Amber Cebull.
The Sharpening of Iron
I met Amber by happenstance. Our sons’ birthdays were just two days apart, and we both were well-connected in the natural parenting/birthing community in Southwest Florida. We happened to sit next to each other once at the local birthing center, waiting to be seen by a chiropractor.
A few weeks later, I received this Facebook message from her:
You see, up to this point, I was a stay-at-home mom, which was the extent of my career. But Amber saw something more. After reading my mommy blog, Amber told me I was a marketer. She immediately gave me Brian + Dharmesh’s book, INBOUND, and told me to read anything I could get my hands on by Seth Godin.
Within weeks of getting that message, she and I partnered together and co-ran her marketing agency. I wish that I could write that it was smooth sailing and that we are still partnered today, and there was no drama, but that would be a big fat lie.
This was my very first time working while a mom, and it was doing something that I had NO experience in. I like to think that I pushed myself as hard as possible, but truthfully, I floundered pretty severely. Amber didn’t partner with me, thinking she’d had to teach me everything - but she honestly did.
During our very first in-person client meeting, she was discussing increasing leads, and I was next to her Googling “what is a lead?”
My inexperience and not-yet-defined sense of work/life balance didn’t lend to her and me having a lasting business relationship. Roughly six months later, she bought me out, and we went our separate ways.
But, every 18-months or so, I send her a message that looks like this:
She was tough as nails, and I wasn’t ready to be sharpened, but the lessons she taught me have never left my soul. So much of who I became is a direct result and reflection of her.
Amber is the absolute queen of no-bullshit. For better or worse, she is exactly who she is and apologizes for none of it. I’ve grown to not only appreciate that but carry that as a part of who I am.
Amber taught me that if Steve Jobs could change the technology space, we could, from our little company, make waves so big that we’d change the shore of services. I like to believe that what we’re doing here isn’t just for us - but for everyone that comes in contact with us.
Amber brings every piece of herself to everything she does. Today, she co-runs the most successful brewing company in Fort Myers. I’ve fought my way through many agencies to realize that I needed to be right where I am, an entrepreneur.
Amber taught me to face things head on - it may get ugly, but hiding never changes anything. Running a business means having uncomfortable discussions, and more than once, I’ve had to channel my inner-Amber to get through them. But, I’ve always made it out the other side.
While it would be so incredibly easy for both of us to look at our short time together and only see the frustrations, difficulties, and shudder with disgust...I can’t.
How can I see anything but the moments that became the foundations for what has become BS+Co?
How can I be anything but internally grateful for the woman who sharpened me before I even knew I needed it?
This one is for you, Amber!