What will people think of me?
This seemingly, innocent question crushes more entrepreneurial journeys than anything I see and hear as a coach.
You would think it would be money. But it's not. Entrepreneurs with a will, always find a way. I have heard story after story, over the years, of people selling their furniture and other personal items to get the money to invest in themselves and their businesses.
Some might even think it's lack of time. But it's not . You can always find time to make your dream happen by eliminating mindless TV, social media, or anything else that sucks your time for hours on end.
It's this nagging question -- what will people think of me? -- that seems to be the biggest obstacle for women entrepreneurs to overcome. Not only have I experienced this, but I see and hear about it everywhere... from the clients I work with, to the networking groups I'm a part of.
It's the same things over and over...
What will they think if I start a business?
What will they think if I fail?
What will they think if I'm not a success right away?
I could go and on.
Who are these people that we worry about so much... anyway?
It's friends, family, colleagues, and pretty much everyone else we come in contact with.
The good news is... this obstacle is something you can overcome... if you're willing.
For me, the beauty of becoming a little older, wiser, and more confident, helped me to see what other people thought of me was really none of my concern, because it's all about the mission that I'm on to inspire, transform, and celebrate women.
I realized, there are obstacles and fear in anything new that you try, but if you stay focused on the greater good you're out to do, this can transform your fear into excitement helping you to overcome the obstacle.
Stacy Lindenberg, owner of Talent Seed Consulting, LLC, says, "When I started my consulting business two years ago, the question -- What will people think of me? -- haunted me. But as I grew my business, I became more confident. Lindenberg found one of her biggest confidence boosters was winning a competitive RFP for a local project. She also found that meeting with clients, and advising them helped build her confidence. Lindenberg says, "I realized that my past experience was transferable, and that I really did bring value. That sounds simple, but until you apply your knowledge and see it helping others, and they express appreciation, or refer you to other clients, you can forget that you have skills that bring value."
When Marion Claire began her coaching business, Speaking Is Sexy, one of the first things she heard from a close family relative was... What do you know about that? Why should anybody listen to you?
Claire says, "My background included writing sitcoms for TV. I had a B.A. in Theatre Arts from UCLA, but no university degree or other formal training in speakers' coaching or speech writing. I had taken some courses in coaching, but was not certified. Why, indeed, should anyone listen to me?"
Claire had a choice to make. She could spend a couple of years going back to school to get all the formal credentials she could possibly need to convince skeptics -- like her relative -- that she was worth listening to before 'officially' hanging up her shingle, creating a website, and looking for clients.
Or she could take what she already knew, combine it with her innate intelligence, a lifetime of experience working with people in various professions, her love of continuing study, and start from where she was at, by helping people overcome their fear of speaking. Claire plunged in. That was about 14 years ago.
Claire says, "None of my clients has ever asked what kind of a degree I have, or whether I'm certified. They come back year after year and refer their friends. If I had let my relative's skepticism stop me, I wouldn't have a business today at all. Maybe she did me a favor. I had to overcome my initial feelings of -- I'm not good enough, because I didn't have all those degrees -- to realize that I am good enough. A piece of paper from a University doesn't make you good or bad. The key to running your own business is to believe that you can."
It was this question -- What will people think of me? -- that transported Qiana Martin, an international athlete, global soccer ambassador, and author, from playing street soccer with guys in parks to traveling the world participating in the sport.
Martin has been featured in national ads while embarking on her own entrepreneurial journey by starting Eat Soccer, a website that provides soccer inspiration and education. Martin says, "This one-of-a-kind adventure has been filled with onlookers, family and friends voicing their opinions about me pursuing my passion for soccer on the field and in business."
Martin has learned some valuable techniques that she uses to keep her feet moving forward, despite the chants from the crowd. One of them being, Confront the Insecurities!
Martin says, "It is a method that I learned from one of my fearless, female mentors. Whenever I think that I am not ready to take my business to the next level, I write down all of questions that pop into my mind. I go through each question, listing all of the actions that I have done to address this insecurity and the steps I can take to continue answering this concern."