When I launched my company in May, I experienced a rollercoaster of emotions. I was excited about taking my career to a different level. I was afraid that after working for 16 years in a “9-to-5” and having a steady pay check that I may not be able to survive financially. I was nervous about sharing this new venture with my colleagues and what they would say about my business ideas. I was doubtful that I could really make this work for me in the way I wanted it to. But I was also so relieved that I finally took the plunge and acted on what had been talking about for years.
When you talk to many entrepreneurs, they tell you that the first year (or few years really) of a new business is the hardest. To be prepared for the ebb and flow (financially) of working for yourself. We all know that’s true. But, then you will hear stories about how someone had X number of clients in their first year and doubled their salary by the beginning of the 2nd year. Naturally, when I would hear these stories and say to myself, “oh, yeah that is going to be me because I have built it and they will come.” So when no clients came knocking down my door within in the first few months, I was devastated.
For someone who had achieved every goal set for themselves and landed every opportunity they wanted, this was a huge blow to my ego and self confidence. It also caused me to second guess my decision to launch my business. The self-doubt and fear, that I so often would advise others to let go of, I was holding on to for dear life. I knew I had to let them go if I was going to move forward in a positive way. However, for some reason, I didn’t know how. This was new territory for me and I wasn’t sure how to navigate it.
So I sought the advice from a good friend and former colleague who started her own business a couple of years before I did. She listened (like the great leadership coach that she is) and allowed me the space to figure out what I needed to do to get out of my own way. It was quite simple — I had to change my thoughts and my actions. Yet, when it came to this particular aspect of my life, it was very tough to do.
While this is all a work in progress and I am still learning how to navigate this new life experience, here is what I have discovered and what has been working for me these last few months:
- Surround yourself with positive and supportive people.
- Be realistic about expectations.
- Use this “lag” time to fine-tune your 30-second elevator speech, business ideas, target audience and business frame work.
- Connect. Connect. Connect.
- Find a thought partner you can bounce ideas off of regularly.
- Understand that things really do happen for a reason.
- Be open to diverse opportunities that can lead to achieving your goals.
- Join a work space where you can share ideas and learn from others.
None of these are new concepts, but when you are blinded by fear, self-criticism, anxiety and uncertainty, you can rarely see the very obvious things that are right in front of you. If you can relate to anything that I have written, then I invite you to attend a one-hour webinar for women that I am co-hosting with my friend (the leadership coach I referenced above) and colleague to provide steps that you can take to start making conscious choices about your thoughts that may be holding you back from being the kind of leader you want to be. Sign up here for the webinar.