We were already half way through the year, and everything was going great. Or so I thought.
I couldn’t believe it when I listened to her message on my voicemail. After all, I’d given her more than she’d even expected.
Including extra hours on the phone, talking her through some of the scariest moments of starting a new business. Being available after hours, even during critical family time that I usually would have protected.
And I did all that because I loved working with her. I believed in what she was building. And she was making real progress – even if it was scary.
We seemed to work together perfectly – and now this?
Her request came out of nowhere, and the shock was jarring. I had to do some serious self-talk before I could even call her to talk about it.
Because running a business is hard on your ego.
It’s hard when you pour resources into hosting an event but only a handful of people sign up, or when you craft a perfect online offer but get no response.
It’s hard when your colleagues shame you for raising your fees, or your family asks why you don’t just go get a job.
It’s hard on your confidence.
And yet, running a business forces you to grow.
Just last week, I had a client who was practically in a panic. She was working with a customer who turned out to be toxic, and she knew she had to deal with it.
But a lifetime of pleasing others and avoiding conflict was a hard habit to break; her fear of setting limits with this person was overwhelming.
Yet for the sake of her business, and her own well being, she had to face that fear and step in to her power.
When we run a business, confidence crushers will come our way.
The client who quits. The program that doesn’t sell. The speech that flops. Those things will happen.
The question is, how can you cope when they do? Here are three ways.
1. Tell someone – but only someone who gets it.
For many of us, sharing a success is easier. Being vulnerable enough to talk about the clients we didn’t get, the money we didn’t make. That’s harder.
Unless you’re an entrepreneur and most of your friends aren’t. In that case, you may emphasize the bad times and hide the good. It’s hard to tell friends who are still at their job that you just nailed $20,000 in new business.
But both of those are precisely why you MUST have the support of people who get what it means to do what you do. That could be a coach, a peer whose business is at or even above your level, or a mastermind group.
2. Coach yourself through it.
You can use self talk in a way that helps, or hurts, your own progress.
Start with your journal. Write down what happened and how you feel about it. Really pour your heart out. Give yourself permission to be as emotional as you need to be.
Now, go back and read your words out loud. Would you speak to someone else like that when they were going through a tough time?
If not, try re-writing your story in a different way. Say to yourself what your bruised and worried soul really needs to hear.
3. Remember that it’s all R&D.
When something goes well, you’ve learned one thing. When something blows up, you’ve learned something else. It’s all research and development.
The point is – look for the business lessons to be learned from the experience. (And no, I don’t mean looking for a sign that you were never meant to do this anyway.)
Because the obstacle is the way.
Whatever it is that didn’t work, contains within it the solution for what will.
That client of mine who wanted her money back? Turns out she was overwhelmed and I didn’t know it. Yes, she’d made great progress. She felt supported. And she’d learned a lot in our work together.
But she was overwhelmed. For whatever reason – she couldn’t say it, and because she was strong and capable, she didn’t show it either. And because I didn’t know, I couldn’t help.
So we negotiated a fair and elegant parting – and I learned.
I learned to do a better job up orienting clients on what it’s like to work with me, and what to expect along the way. (Hint: I can be pushy. Growth can be scary. And it’s okay to talk about that.)
I learned that I needed a policy that gave clients the security they need if they weren’t happy, but one that protected my business as well.
AND I learned to check in more about how clients feel along the way. In fact, now I have that as a system.
We have to learn how to handle these moments; they’re an important part of our path to success. These three ways will help.
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