Raising your hand, horn-tooting 101, impostors and more, oh my!


Hey, Over Here!

Just as women tend NOT to keep our hands up in class, or defer to men at corporate meetings, we hesitate in every area of life to say, “Over here, please, I’ve got something important to say” and we often won’t keep our hand up till we are heard.

This is especially true in gatherings with both and men and women, whether business or social, and certainly in classes, trainings and workshops. At your next dinner party, meeting or gathering, pay attention to that. How much do the women speak, and do they mostly agree with and support others, or assert their own opinions? And the men?

Clearly this is a problem with deep roots and wide implications, much of which I can’t address here.

Let’s look closer at how this plays out for a woman in her own business, which is the focus for this and the next several blog posts. . Lack of confidence can lead to indecision and waffling, waiting for the perfect website, copy, or business offering before putting anything out there. Being overworked and underpaid is a big problem for women too.

Here’s a common place of indecision for many: even after having been advised to pick your niche and ‘plant your flag’, to declare who your clients are and how you serve them, you can’t decide or you resist the idea of niching. It’s hard to plant a flag if you are deferring to some internalized concept of a ‘perfect’ business, you’re waiting for someone to ‘call on you’ and tell you ‘Hey, great business concept”! If you don’t believe strongly in your ideas and your abilities or tend to always think others are better or have it more together, then you may waffle and avoid that moment of stepping out and declaring boldly what your business is, who it serves, and what results you get.

The not-good-enough problem makes you work harder, and accept a lower salary or lower fees than you might otherwise. After all you are still proving yourself to someone, right?

There’s a variation on not-good-enough that even has its own name, the ‘impostor syndrome’, documented in psychology studies. This affects men as well as women, and this is about how many successful accomplished people, when interviewed in depth, admitted to feeling like a fraud, a fake, an impostor. Even attorneys and other professionals said they didn’t feel fully knowledgeable or legit.

Clearly, this confidence thing is BIG for us as women and as entrepreneurs. Our level of confidence affects our ability to define our business, declare our niche and ideal client, and make the myriad of decisions that go with being in business. It affects whether we see the value of our work and charge accordingly, enthusiastically and clearly speak for your business and what you offer, even whether we can attract joint venture partners and capital. Ultimately, it affects how much you earn, and the quality of your life. We need to appreciate and acknowledge our abilities, to have the outer posture and inner stance that “I matter and what I have to say is important.” We need to envision ourselves successful, and project our energy out there in the world—to plant our flag and have our voices and wisdom be heard.

We need to stop waiting for Someone to “stamp” us or our work with their seal of approval stamp. It’s certainly nice to receive approval and appreciation but so often there really is no one there to give us a stamp of approval—we have to boldly follow our inner guidance. So, go ahead: Give that “approved” stamp to yourself and get on with things.

Finally at this ripe age, I am finally doing that–giving myself the approval and green light to be me–and I’m having a whole lot more FUN, MEANING and CLIENT ATTRACTION happening.

My challenge to the women and men who resonate with this message: Go ahead–Plant that flag, toot that horn, give yourself that “Approved” stamp..and watch what happens!

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Categories : Solopreneurs

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