• Jul 05, 2019 | articles,  Your Work

    This version of “terminal” can be cured…[Community Series 1 of 4]

    A couple weeks ago, I hosted a gathering of women entrepreneurs in my home. It is a monthly gathering that I began this past January in an effort to maintain community and minimize the loneliness that I, and many others, experience as an entrepreneur working from home every day.

    I call the group Women in Washington and it has been a joyful event for me that I look forward to each month.

    The intention for the gathering is to create a safe space to bring women entrepreneurs together so we can share our obstacles, get support, and find understanding in knowing we’re not alone.

    We’re much more alike than we are different.

    There’s actually a term for this mindset – it’s called “terminal uniqueness.”

    It’s a term that originally stems from the world of recovery work but I believe is applicable for most.

    It’s defined as “the false belief that the situation the individual is facing is unlike anything faced by other people and therefore no one else would be able to relate.”

    It’s easy to identify “terminal uniqueness” in others.

    However, when we’re the ones struggling or facing challenges, recognizing our own “terminal uniqueness” is a little harder to identify.

    I cannot tell you how many times I have fallen into this trap myself.

    When I am overwhelmed, or I’m experiencing a very normal business downturn, and in the throws of my emotions, I get wrapped up in the false belief that I am the only entrepreneur who has ever experienced this situation. Ever.

    Have you ever felt this way?

    Struggle or hardship enters your life and your internal dialogue goes something like this…

    Step 1: This only happens to me, I must be the worst human being ever (can we say drama?)!

    Step 2: Why bother parsing out the facts from my feelings, it doesn’t really matter (feeling a bit sorry for yourself, are we?)?

    Step 3: Resist the simple acknowledgement that there’s a breakdown (why problem solve, when I can lick my wounds instead?).

    The length of this pattern of destructive thinking endures as long as you (or I) allow it to. That is how we discover our own personal flavor of terminal uniqueness.

    So how do you disrupt the pattern of terminal uniqueness? I believe the answer is: COMMUNITY!

    Having a community to come home to is a great access point to remembering that you’re a human too. I’ve written about the value of community here and here and here.

    Creating a safe space for people to gather, to share vulnerably, to own what’s not working about their business model or partnerships and to feel seen and heard is often all it takes to create an energetic shift.

    There is amazing power to simply saying out loud what’s not working in your life, your business, and your relationships. What I’ve seen over and over again is that it’s the first step towards change.

    Earlier this year, when I first hosted Women in Washington, I shared how I had committed to speaking publicly more this year. I committed to putting myself out there, leaning into the edge of my comfort zone, and begin to get paid to speak.

    Now, 5 months later, this community has inspired me to…

    • Read more (they’ve recommended great books on public speaking);
    • Join a local Toastmasters Club, (something I’ve been avoiding doing for 3 years);
    • Lead a lunchtime talk on The Art of Confidence Creation;
    • And get my first paid speaking opportunity at a leadership conference later this fall.

    None of this would’ve been possible had I continued to operate under my “terminal uniqueness” that I was the only woman scared to put myself out there as a public speaker.

    So what is your “terminal uniqueness”? How could being in a community challenge you out of your terminal uniqueness?

    Are you interested in leaning into a community for your own self progress and transformation?

    Good!

    Stay tuned for next week, where I’ll be sharing some of my favorite communities that would love to have you join them!

    To being in community,




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