Many female solopreneurs start a business with nothing more than a good idea, a lot of passion, and a strong sense of purpose. Then they start collecting free and low-cost information and advice, followed by courses and massive group programs that can get them out of the starting blocks but will leave them stuck, stranded, or spinning their wheels at some point because they don’t actually know what they need to succeed or how to implement the information they have and in what order.
The bottom line is that every single one of us is experiencing what I call “The Gap”, the space between where you are and where you want to be. It might be aspirational, motivational, financial or simply the ultimate expression of your potential or purpose, but however you define it, the gap is painful, especially if you are idealistic, and have a big bold vision for your business and the mark you want to make in the world.
So, let’s dig into the 6 common problems that hold women back…
The first 3 often travel together, like an unholy trinity, but I will address them one at a time because even though they frequently show up in our business and life, we don’t always have the entire cluster fuck to contend with at any given time.
You mean to do it. You know you should. It's not even that big a deal, but you just keep putting it off. This pattern of waiting until the last minute is called procrastination. It's very habit-forming, stressful, and causes a lot of shame. The good news is that it's learned behavior and what is learned, can be unlearned. You don't need to wait until you feel more motivated to deal with your procrastination, because putting off something you can start doing now is the whole problem. Just identify the first step and take it. Taking action is habit-forming too.
Other people may sing your praises, but nothing you ever do feels like it is quite good enough for you. One of the problems with perfectionism is comparing ourselves to others, so try comparing your abilities today to where they were a year ago. Since your internal set point isn't working very well, you can also just decide on an objective measure like the amount of time spent on a task or project, instead of waiting to feel that internal sense of approval. Dealing with perfectionism frees up so much energy and joy, so take the first step. It's worth it.
You are the kind of person that is always there for everyone and is known for being dependable and hard-working. You really do try to set boundaries and limits on how much you do for others, but it's just so hard to let anyone down. It's becoming increasingly hard to focus on your own goals and sometimes you really do feel resentful, even though you do what is expected of you anyway. A great way to start unlearning the habit of people-pleasing is deciding for yourself what your limits will be and gaining some practice communicating them to others. Maybe a first step would be to tell that colleague who always asks you to help out that you really can't this time. No excuse, no apology. It is hard at first, but with practice, it gets easier and you gain time, energy, and self-respect in the process.
Most entrepreneurs and creatives have so many ideas on their minds that they have a hard time staying focused. Distracted by social media, their environment, other people and even their own thoughts is a constant struggle. It's time to stop chasing so many rabbits! Learn to recognize what is stealing your attention so you can tame the ones that are holding you back. Creating boundaries means you get your most important stuff done.
Ordering or buying stuff impulsively instead of thoughtfully can become a real problem. Stop and pause for a moment before you click BUY by having a list of what you actually need before you open that app. And, don't think of it as limiting yourself, think of it as being more picky or selective. You will enjoy what you buy so much more and every purchase will be shame-free.
Running late, whether it's a little or a lot creates tons of stress and can cost you jobs and relationships. Even if you think you've 'tried them all, make a commitment to using a calendar/planner, whether it's digital or analog. Set a reminder on your phone, maybe two. And, don't ignore them. If you don't have a calendar, then get one now - not "someday" or "tomorrow." It's time to put those good intentions into action and stop letting people down, especially yourself. I prefer to call time blindness ‘time optimism” because I always think I have more time than I actually do, but when I am not joking around or making light of it, I will tell you it has absolutely held me back in many areas of my life with people that see tardiness as a sign of disrespect, immaturity or self-indulgence.
The good news is that no matter how long you have been contending with one or more of these traits, you can modify them. A great place to start is to take this quiz: “What’s Holding You Back?” https://bit.ly/obstaclesquiz
You will receive your specific result and a short series of emails that will link you to podcast episodes, tools, and strategies that will help you make progress. Be kind to yourself, be patient with yourself, and partner with someone who is willing to be your accountability partner. The cool thing about being an entrepreneur is that you don’t have a boss. The hard thing is that you have to be the boss of yourself. If you have any of the 6 common traits I described in this episode, and they are common because many of us do, they will limit you from reaching your goals and fulfilling your potential. I know that word might be triggering for some because so many of us have been told we were not fulfilling our potential for fuckever. But I am saying it because I believe in you and I want you to close the gap, reach your goals, feel great about yourself and achieve success however you define it.
And if you are in no mood to think about any of this right now, but you are a fan of the show so you listened all the way to the end anyway, remember that you can come back to this episode in January when you are ready. This episode will be available for the life of the podcast and I plan to keep that going for a long, long, time. Now, go back for that second piece of pumpkin pie or dark chocolate peppermint bark or whatever floats your boat, because you can and because you fucking deserve it.
Happy holidays, friend!