I'm so bloody stubborn sometimes.
I'm naturally very driven and I've had a lifetime of trying to prove to others, and myself, that I'm right. And you know what…. And it's really hard to admit this…..I'm not always right.
At the beginning of my journey I felt like I only wanted to work with individual women, because I wanted to ensure that I could work on whatever project would be best for them. Which could include leaving their current place of work and that we wouldn't have to worry about any company agenda.
I cracked on, throwing myself with all my energy into MAKING IT HAPPEN. It's my special superpower don’t cha know?
I was doing the right thing. It was for the best for the women I wanted to work with.
Except. Nothing happened.
And I kept going, because I was utterly convinced that I was right. I changed things, tweaked things, tried again.
And then it dawned on me, I was going to have to change my approach and *Sigh* target businesses and men. People had been telling me this since the very first moment.
But I didn't want to, because I'd told so many people I wouldn't. And in this case I had to stick with the moral high ground. Right?
No, Tracy, no you don't have to do that.
I felt. So. Embarrassed. I was so convinced that everyone would point and laugh and tell me that they told me so.
Some weeks later, after much self-induced stress and overworking, I found myself staring down the barrel of simply giving up because I could only see the results of my effort; Nothing worthy to shout about at all.
Friends told me not to give up. I was 'on the verge' of something great. 'Something amazing is about to happen, I can feel it'.
At this point I had nothing to lose but my dignity to give up on my passion project. So I asked myself 'What if this feeling and these lessons were the best things to happen to me? What would I need to do?'
Firstly, I would reach out to my network and ask for introductions to relevant people.
You'd think that this was the first thing I would do when starting my own business…. But I was so totally convinced that anything I achieve I earn it by myself.
I hate the idea of 'owing' anything to anyone or that anyone would throw this back in my face at a later date.
But… one of the lessons I share with women is that to be able to speak courageously, you need to leverage your network and those around you. And until now, I had been ignoring my own good advice.
"I could have done this 3 months ago" I said to my mentor, Marja. I was left feeling very frustrated and angry, definitely with myself.
"Every word we choose carries power" Marja said.
She asked me to say those words again, but with compassion and positivity.
"I've learned a lot in the past 3 months regarding the effort required to get individual clients"
"Better, yes. But I think we can go deeper; try to ensure your statement includes the value added"
I closed my eyes and tried again, "I've grown to understand how much more impact my vision could have if I work with businesses, not just with women"
"YES! Look how much more positive this is!" Marja said, happily. I couldn't help but agree with her.
I honestly felt like I needed to go through this phase of learning and growth to fully understand the challenges, but the only person I was really battling with to prove I was right, was me.
I sat discussing my initial business stages with my friend James at the pub last week.
"The people who know and like you are only ever going to support you on your journey and help someone who is trying to do something which is important"
I'd been looking at reaching out to my network as a weakness. But in reality, I can double down on effort and word of mouth by simply sharing what I'm trying to do.
Nobody is pointing at me or telling me they told me so. They want to actually see me win.
With keeping an open mind, using my network, my allies and the best selected words, maybe I will step aside and let me win too.
Photo credit: Daniele Bisognin
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