When I start something new, I am so secretive. You’ll catch me hiding my computer every time a family member walks by and writing blog posts on my phone whenever I have a moment alone. It’s not because I’m embarassed – I’m just not ready for anyone to know.
This fear stems from our own doubts – and it’s not a fun place to be, friends. It comes from doubt about how they might react. It’s the worry that I’ll tell them my big plan and it will turn out to be a flop. It’s the fear that they’ll say it’s unrealistic, or not smart, or they don’t think I can do it.
As human beings, we have a horrible habit of putting our own fears into other people’s mouths before they’ve even started to speak. We assume they’re going to confirm those nagging doubts we always carry in the back of our minds – why does she think people are going to want to listen to her? What makes her think that she has what it takes? She should stick with the reliable job.
And sometimes that’s exactly the reaction you get. They don’t like your idea and, despite any good intentions (maybe they’re just being protective of you), it really hurts. So you shrink up. Your doubts intensify. You feel so small with a dream too big to achieve.
But it’s time to stop feeling like people’s inability to understand us says anything about us. We are not what other people think of us nor are we limited by what they think we can achieve.
If you get support on your business, then you are lucky. There are many of us who don’t – or not in the way we would like. If you’re feeling alone or unsupported today, I want you to think about a few things:
You might be surprised what can happen if you let yourself be vulnerable.
After a few months of working on my first blog, I accidentally connected the business Instagram to my personal Facebook account. I was mortified. Now everyone was going to know what I was up to. I was so scared of the judgement and criticism I thought would come.
Shockingly, none did. I was actually approached by a few people telling me how great they thought it was. I even had a friend confide in me that she had always wanted to start a blog of her own. How could she do it? How did I get started? It was the total opposite reaction than I had expected. Who would have thought that this friend I thought I knew wanted the same thing that I had always been too scared to share.
And as you grow your business and build your confidence, this will happen more and more often. You killing it at the online business thing makes people feel more comfortable speaking about their own ambitions. You’re the example – you did it and now they want to know how.
This is one of my favorite photos ever. I hope you take it with you and think of it often:
Just as you’re hiding this huge part of yourself – your ambitions, your business, your dream – the people whose judgment you fear might just be hiding something too. It could be the same online business dream. Or maybe you’ll just share the desire for more. It could even be something else all together. You may be surprised at what you’ll hear back if you start being more vulnerable.
If you’ve been too scared to share what you’re working on, I think you should try to find the courage to put yourself out there. Don’t put your own doubts in other people’s mouths. See what happens if you allow yourself to be open.
They might not understand.
Have you ever told someone about an idea you have only to be met with a sort of blank stare? Maybe a few unconvincing ‘yeah’s or ‘okay’s? You feel bummed because you expected them to be just as excited as you are. But it might not be that they don’t believe in you or aren’t excited for you – they just may not understand.
It’s important to remember that the internet has opened up SO many opportunities for this and future generations. We are some of the first people who have had the privilege of building careers online. We can create whatever worlds we choose. These options haven’t been available to everyone.
My dad is a bit older than the average dad for girls my age. He’s just mastering Facebook (kind of) and still doesn’t know how to text. All of his websites are bookmarked for him and if he lost that, I don’t know if he could find them again. It’s SO cute and I love watching him learn new technology (but texting will probably always be out of his grasp). Is that a man who understands how you can make MONEY online?
My dad is SO supportive. He’s taken care of me my whole life. But he just didn’t understand what I was doing online. Even some of my friends who are part of the internet generation just dont have a clue how you can make money off a blog. It’s not that they’re not supportive – they just don’t know how to be. What questions should they ask? What support can they give? How can they help me? They just don’t know.
If you feel like this is the situation you’re in, then let me give you a challenge – ask them and explain to them the support you need. Ask them their opinion on your blog layout. Have them read your new guide and tell you if it makes sense. Ask them to text you and check if you got that post written to hold you accountable. Explain the decision you’re trying to make. Sometimes we can’t expect unless we let people know what need.
You don’t need their support or approval.
So many good things have come from adversity. If people in your life judge or criticize, use that as fuel to do better, work harder and prove them wrong. Lots of people aren’t lucky enough to have support or have the odds on their side. You can still pull off incredible things. That just means ….
…it’s time to build your own girl gang – and all it takes is a hello email!
There comes a time when you need to step out of your comfort zone and create your own tribe. There are so many communities out there you can be a part of and so many other women that you can connect with no matter where they are in the world.
It’s even less scary than in person because if someone isn’t interested, it doesn’t happen to your face or even in real-time! The worst that can happen? No email back. It’s not the end of the world! So next time you stumble on the profile of a girl boss who you think will get it, send that uncomfortable first mail – you never know what’ll happen.
So what can you do?
1. Turn to a supportive online community.
Find places online to connect with people who get you. Facebook groups, forums, this awesome Facebook community. There is a reason that people use the word “solopreneur” – if you’re a one-woman show, you’re doing everything solo. And that can feel SO LONELY. You should try to find other women who get what you’re dealing with. You’re more than welcome to join us!
2. Find mentors.
If you find someone who is further along than you, reach out! Ask questions, become a part of their community, get guidance from a person who feels like a friend. You can even shoot them an email asking some of your burning questions and looking for guidance. It never hurts to try!
You can also invest in a coach! I’ve coached many clients and from my experience, it’s more than just business. You end up forming a connection. A coach is like your business best friend – they’re there to give you advice, to bounce ideas off of, to hold you accountable and make sure you don’t give up.
3. Accomplish in silence.
Go for your goals on your own terms. If you’re sensitive to opinions, don’t even give them the opportunity. Just keep your head down, work hard, and share the awesome results when you get to the point that you feel so good about what you’ve accomplished that no one can bring you down.
4. Make self-care an essential part of your routine.
When you’re doing it all alone, it’s so easy to get caught up in the entrepreneurial roller coaster – one minute you love your business and think you’re awesome but the next you feel like a total failure and like you’re never going to get where you need to be. You must take time and space away from your business for clarity and self-love.
5. Trust that you will find your tribe if you’re true to yourself.
If you’re being your authentic self, you will attract other people like you or that you will connect with. And as you’re growing your tribe of soul sisters, it will leave no room for people who don’t support or get you. Who has time for that uninterested friend when you can spend hours talking ideas or working at a coffee shop with someone who genuinely supports and gets you?
While you may not be ready to slam the door in the face of that friend who doesn’t care about your goal, know that your path will give her a choice in the end. Either she gets on board or drops out of your friend circle – there’s just no room for unsupportive, uninspiring people on your journey to those big dreams.
So sleep easy, girl bosses. You’ll find your way – with or without the support of others.
ps – don’t forget to join us on Facebook. You’ll be one step closer to building your girl gang!