I’m working with a new client who is in her second year of running a small, and successful business. Asli juggles a 5 year old and a nearly 3 year old and works her online business around her family commitments. She is passionate about what she does, and she is doing really well. Her business is growing and whilst it takes a lot of time and investment she knew this going in and has accounted for it. So her problem isn’t that she is running a business in it’s second year, her challenge comes in the form of staying true to her own self and vision.
Asli described that she has trouble staying connected to her own self when people have suggestions for her, or she perceives them as not supporting her. Her access to her internal compass is reduced. A marked silence, or a comparison of her success against theirs, or someone they know. We worked out that her business feels good to her when she works on it, it’s energising. All of her financials and website hits are trending in the right direction. The one thing that keeps her up at night though, is the doubt and sometimes paralysing fear of ‘doing it wrong’. Asli has come to me to work through this. Logically she knows it would be great if she could take her husband’s advice and ‘just ignore them’, but it’s trickier than that. She over analyses ‘their’ responses, and cross-checks it against her own decisions and business plan. Sometimes waking in the early hours of the morning to cycle over it again. She's stuck, despite 'knowing better'.
We chatted and distilled it down to this: It can be hard to do your own thing. We are pack animals, we like to fit in. We like to belong. We like to be different. We like to be the same. We want to be liked. We want to be ‘successful’. We want to do it on our own terms. We don’t like it when we think we don’t fit in, or when people don’t ‘understand’ us. We want to be known. We want to be seen.
We are complex, aren’t we?
Throughout our coaching session, we identified some easy ways to stay connected to your true self:
1. Identify what success for you looks like and feels like: In the case of Asli, she has her business plan. This provides a concrete example of how she is hitting her targets. For those of us who might be in a similar situation but it is less quantitative, your task is to objectively identify what success looks and feels like for you. That way you can take the comparison and match it back to your own truth. This should help end the derailer quite quickly. You have proof!
2. Notice when someone hits your buttons. You might feel overwhelmed, embarrassed, ashamed, doubt your self, or worry you are doing it wrong. Notice your feelings in the moment. Breathe slowly and gently. Extricate yourself from the situation when possible, and follow these ways to reset yourself.
3. Decide to use it or not: After your emotions have subsided, look at what the ‘offender’ has offered you (inadvertently or overtly). Is it helpful? Would you like to incorporate it into what you are doing? If yes, find a healthy way to integrate their advice.
4. When it’s unhelpful for you: Asli cited a school mum connection who clearly knew Asli's business. When Asli shared her business approach in conversation, the mum ignored her and started talking about her own business and how much better she was. This understandably stung Asli. What was great is that together Asli and I were able to work through the process of understanding that this mother’s response to Asli’s business had nothing to do with Asli. It only had to do with her own insecurities.
Wouldn’t it be nice if we could always respond to these types of situations the way we theoretically know how. Asli intuitively knows that the people who sway her from her path aren’t the problem. The problem is that she can be swayed.
Our job together over the next 6 months is to keep adding tools to her toolkit to rebalance Asli and strengthen her as she grows her business into the next level. As a first step, Asli and I have outlined a map of a current derailer she has been struggling with. Good. Now for practicing a different internal response. Together we will implement ways to change Asli’s thinking to support her new way of being in the world. After awhile, she won’t need my support anymore, this skill will be built and the lessons integrated. She will have grown through her challenge.
With Asli’s full permission, I will be regularly posting our experiences together.
If you would like to work together, drop me a line email@example.com
How do you stay steady in the face of a derailer?