Category Archives: Business Success Tips

Two Speed Bumps on the Road to Success: Self-Doubt and Uncertainty

Self-Doubt & UncertaintyThere are two speed bumps on the road to success:  Self-Doubt and Uncertainty.

They are the crusher of dreams.

This pair will cause you to question:

Can I really live my dream life?  Is it possible?  Do I deserve it?

And when the road gets bumpy . . . Is the Universe trying to tell me it’s just not meant to be?

Is it worth it???

You are an entrepreneur because the j-o-b model doesn’t fit you.   You want to live your life on your terms and have the freedom to choose who you work with, what you do and where you do it (cubicles give you claustrophobia!)

The likelihood of your success (or failure) depends on how you handle your speed bumps and whether you bottom out.

Two Speed Bumps on the Road to Success:

Self-Doubt

Self-doubt questions whether you are qualified to do your work.  It asks why you think you’re special.  Why you dare to want more, BE different, and choose not to work a job like everyone else.

It causes you to fall back into old patterns of thinking, beliefs that try to convince you that you’re being selfish, irresponsible or even foolish.  Self doubt looks at what is merely apparent and tries to explain why your dreams can’t work for you.

Uncertainty

Uncertainty on the other hand is the fear of the unknown.  It questions EVERYTHING!  It’s always asking “What if?”  What if I can’t find clients to fill my program?  What if someone thinks I’m unqualified, too expensive, not worth it (you name it)?  What if I can’t pay my bills?  What if I fail? Or. . .What if I succeed?

Because you haven’t achieved what you desire before, there’s a LOT that you don’t know (like who you’ll have to become to be successful, how your life might change, or what will be expected of you) it can feel scary, like driving down the road without headlights.  You can’t see what’s coming or where you’re going.

Paving a Clear Road to Success

Many of you have never operated a business before.  Business models and marketing plans can feel a bit overwhelming and sales…well…let’s just say most of you feel uncomfortable selling.

In a world spouting statistics of low success rates for small businesses (it’s estimated that 56% fail in the first 5 years), it’s important to look at WHY you’re in business in the first place (or why you want to start a business) to address these concerns.

Your Special WHY

So…WHY do you do it?  Because you want to help people and you want to make a difference in the world.

The special WHY you’re in business is unique to you.  It grows from your heart’s calling, some call this your purpose, I call it your inner magic.  It’s the essence of you that calls to be expressed and shared with others (something only you can offer).

Your why is expressed in your Purposeyour gifts and talents), Mission (putting your purpose into action) and Vision (the impact you want to make).

Together they act as a compass for what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, where you’re going and the impact you want to create.

When you keep your WHY in mind, magic happens!

Suddenly you shift your focus from you and your fears (all that self-doubt and uncertainty) to your clients and the transformation you will bring them (the ways you will make their life better!)

Using your Purpose, Mission and Vision as road signs along your way, you’ll be sure to pave a clear path to success.  And, if those pesky speed bumps do happen to pop up, your WHY will prevent you from bottoming out!

Vulnerability – Your Secret Strength

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Vulnerability is a word most business women don’t want to admit to having.  There’s a connotation of weakness in the word. In truth, vulnerability is your secret strength.

Vulnerability is the state you feel when you have been challenged, when you feel exposed for all the world to see.  Your natural tendency is to guard your openness, even hide it.  You want to protect it, like the wound it appears to be, when in fact it reveals the beautiful, juicy, tender truth of who you are.

Somewhere along the line you have been taught to judge yourself.  You have accepted ideas about who you should be, how you should behave and what you ought to do.  You’ve been conditioned to look at yourself through the lens of how you think others perceive you and you’ve created boundaries to protect yourself from the fear of getting hurt or being rejected.

Nothing challenges your boundaries more than having your own business.  You’ve basically set yourself up for rejection.  In fact, you can pretty much expect to experience rejection on a regular basis.  That’s why so many of you shy away from sales conversations.  It’s the perfect opportunity to be told “no.”  This can trigger many fears like: “Is what I’m offering valuable?”  “Do I charge too much?”  “Is my business going to make it?”

Worse than a straight out “no” is a “yes” that turns into a “no.”   There was a time when such a response would put me on an emotional roller coaster.  First, my excitement would spike from the “yes” because I saw it as proof that what I offered was valuable and needed.

That “yes” fed my dreams and hopes of having a successful business. It added validation to what I was doing and told me that all I envisioned was possible.  I would fly high, only to plummet to self-doubt and fear when that “yes” shifted to a “no” (usually within a day or two).

Sometimes the “yes-no” came with a “Thank you, but I’ve had a change of heart” or “I’ve just decided it’s not the right time after all.”  Sometimes it came with no explanation at all.  If this hasn’t happened to you yet . . .wait. . . it will.  It’s inevitable when you’re in business long enough.  It’s not that clients are mean or fickle, they’re simply facing their fears, just like you, and they’re struggling to move past them.

In those times I felt vulnerable.  I had dared to step outside my boundaries, outside my comfort zone, to pursue a dream.  What was I thinking?  My “no’s” made me want to pack it up.  Go back to a “steady” day job and settle for less than what I dreamed.  It felt safe.  It felt comfortable.  It certainly fit within the shell I created, the boundaries that I put up to protect myself from hurt, from disappointment and from failure.

What I have since discovered is while our boundaries keep us feeling safe, they also keep us small.  They stop you from taking “risks” and from following your heart.  They limit your opportunities because what you dream about waits outside your comfort zone.  If it didn’t we’d all be living extraordinary lives.

It’s your vulnerability that cracks those boundaries wide open!  It breaks apart the limited beliefs and self-doubts that keep you stuck.  It’s the willingness to let your dreams, your vision and your hopes be exposed that allows you to make them real.  It’s also the first step in discovering your secret strength ~ knowing that your value, your success and your truth are not dependent upon anyone other than you.

Vulnerability is not something to hide, or to shy away from.  It’s an opportunity to be willing to expose what you desire, to take a stand for what you want, and BE that.  No more worries about what other people will think!  No emotional attachment to the “yes’s” and the “no’s”! After all the fears and boundaries fall away, what you are left with is the pure desire to BE your brilliance and be of service in the way only you can.

I had a “yes-turned-no” just a few weeks ago.  After discussing payment options and drafting her contract she thanked me for my time and the insights that she gained during her consultation but had decided to work with another coach.

Was I upset?  No!  I was honestly excited to see that she was still moving forward with coaching, something she clearly identified she needed and wanted in her consultation.  I was concerned for her and the unexpected change of mind.  I offered her the opportunity to consult again (my gift) to support her in exploring her shift in decision.  She didn’t respond.

I don’t know why she changed her mind and that’s OK.  I could have taken it personally.  I could have felt rejected.  I could have made it all about me.  I didn’t.  I don’t need to.  It wasn’t about me.  It was about supporting my client in making a clear decision that is in alignment with her truth and what she needs.

I’ve embraced my vulnerability.  I’ve discovered the truth of who I am.  I know my value and my vision.  I don’t need the validation of others to believe in and pursue my dreams.

I’m not saying it was an easy lesson to learn.  What I can tell you is that once you’ve embraced your vulnerability, you can truly be of service . . . because there’s no attachment to the outcome.  You understand that you aren’t meant to help everyone.  BE your brilliance and the people you are here to serve will find you.  Those who say “no” are just meant to work with someone else.

Embrace your vulnerability.  It truly is your secret strength.

Are You Ready For Success?

dreamstimefree_8958081You created a business that expresses your gifts and talents, what I call your inner magic.  You desire the time freedom and the financial freedom that being your own boss can give you.  And yet, with each level you create within your business, you find yourself bumping up against an unseen barrier.   It’s not an income glass ceiling kind-of-a-thing.  This one feels like a BIG brick wall that stops you in your tracks.  It drains your energy and it’s preventing you from taking your business to the next level.

This brick wall can show itself as: friction in friendships; arguments with a spouse; a messy desk and an unorganized calendar; forgetting appointments; self-doubt and second guessing your purpose; reduced zeal for your work and having little to no energy to be consistent in your marketing.  It can show itself as not having enough time in the day to get your work done or enough money in the bank to hire the staff you need to get where you’re going.  The question I have for you is “Are you ready for success?”

This seems like an easy question to answer, but it’s not.  Logically you want to be ready for success.  You didn’t create your business to fail.  What’s happening is there’s something running underneath the surface of your thinking that’s sabotaging your dream for success.  There’s a lot going on behind that big brick wall that you don’t know about.  And because you don’t know, what’s unknown raises a lot of questions like: “What beliefs about myself will I have to change to get there?”  “Who will I be?”  “How will this affect my relationships?”  “Who am I after I let go of the fears that define me?”  “What will my life look like?”

These can be scary questions, ones that you probably haven’t thought about before nor have the answers to.  Here’s the thing.  You can’t create the success you want for your business unless you’re willing to peel away those old ideas about who you are.  You must be willing to release old judgments of yourself and allow the freedom to be different.  If you don’t change the way you’re doing things, allow the brilliance of who you are to truly come out and shine (and that means letting go of all those “safe” masks you hide behind) then you won’t be able to change your current business experience.

Einstein said that to keep doing the same things while expecting different results was the very definition of insanity.  You cannot grow your business without growing yourself first.   Any attempt to fit into an idea about whom you think you should be (like who you think your clients want you to be or what your family and friends expect of you) is adding another brick to that big invisible wall.  It’s another way you hide.  Getting to know who you are, what’s important to you and standing in your power is nothing to be afraid of.

Will it affect your relationships?  Absolutely!  This is a good thing.  As you become more empowered in the brilliance and gift of who you are, who and what you are here to BE, the relationships that are no longer a match to you will fall away.  It’s ok.  It’s their path…and it’s yours.  Think of it like a Feng shui clearing.  It makes room for the people you are meant to be with now (the clients that you are here to serve and the new relationships which are waiting for you).  Added bonus:  The current relationships you have that are a true match to you will grow even stronger.  It’s all good and it’s all as it should be.

Who will you be without your fears to define you?  The YOU that you know you can be, that you dream of becoming.  What will your life look like?  Exactly how you want it to be because you will create a life that reflects and expresses your vision, what’s important to you and the way you truly want to live.

So what’s creating your big invisible brick wall?  What’s holding you back from taking those next steps and being more of who you are and sharing what you are here to do with the people you are here to serve?  Honestly ask yourself:  “Are you ready for success?”  The answers you seek are waiting for you.  Gift yourself with the time to explore them and watch your business grow!

Transformationally yours,

Paula Houlihan

The Money Alchemist