Mar 11, 2021 | Your Business
An Embarrassing Shade of Irish Red
I still remember the day I finally stopped putting my mentors on a pedestal, one so high that they could do no wrong in my eyes…
It was a Saturday afternoon and I was standing in front of a group of twenty colleagues or so. I was preparing to share my vision for the upcoming year in my business and open myself up to feedback.
One thing I’ve learned about myself is that people tend to underestimate me upon first meeting me in groups. I’ve found that this is often an experience fellow empaths and highly sensitive entrepreneurs have. Yet, it’s one I’m often blindsided by when meeting new people…
This day was no different.
I had prepared what I wanted to share. Who am I kidding, I had been preparing this idea for years. It was the single business goal I was most passionate about yet intimidated by. Because of how much it mattered to me. I imagine my voice wavered a bit, as it does when we share something we care deeply about, amiright?
But I kept on sharing…
I shared how deeply I believe in the potential of like minded women entrepreneurs supporting each other and growing each other’s businesses through community. I shared with my colleagues how I believe that the fear of terminal uniqueness, i.e. that we are terminally unique and different from others, is one of the greatest impediments to growth. That it is through experiencing a sense of belonging in emotionally safe and connected communities that we can see how much more alike we are than different. And that through this experience of having our fears and weaknesses mirrored back to us in our peers and seen by them (and eventually by ourselves), that we learn to accept our weaknesses, have self-compassion, and come to fully express and share our gifts through our businesses.
I shared that I had always dreamed of launching a mastermind group for heart-centered and service-based women entrepreneurs. How much I believed in community and felt like I even had a knack for creating and curating connected ones.
I still recall how much my stomach felt like it was in my throat that day. It felt so vulnerable sharing something I cared so deeply about with people that I was still gauging how much of myself I could show. But I felt myself grow more confident as I continued to share, even hopeful of their feedback
Until my hopes were crushed…
…in just a couple words even. When my mentor started offering me his feedback, he cut right to the chase. He told me that he didn’t think I could do it, essentially. That there were already many mastermind groups in the marketplace and that you needed to have a vast network for that business model to be successful. He implied that I should go back to the drawing board and come up with a different business idea.
I couldn’t believe it.
How could someone I respect so much not see my potential and underestimate me like that? I could feel my chest constricting and my face turning an embarrassing (and ever so familiar) shade of Irish red.
And then his partner spoke. She piped right in, “No way, I think you can do it. You don’t have that whole eagle feather, saging and woo feel that is so common, your brand is more of a bookworm nerd, more economist and systems feel.” “If you just be yourself, I think there’s a niche for you to launch a mastermind for women entrepreneurs,” she said.
Everything changed for me at that moment.
I realized how much I appreciated being fully seen for who I was and for having someone I admired remind me of what I was capable of.
In full honesty, it would not be for many more months into the program, that I realized how mad I was for my former mentor’s words. At his quickness to cut through my dreams.
But it didn’t matter, we’re all human and while I did lose some respect for him that day (and certainly took him off a pedestal), I gained so much self-respect for me.
If you’ve been here for a hot second, you already know that I did launch the UNBOUNDED Mastermind, and have had two sold-out launches since. Unbounded Potential is thriving and I have never felt more fulfilled or satisfied from my work. I feel fortunate to work with amazing clients who are up to inspiring business dreams.
Here’s the moral of this story though:
We all need mentors and coaches to remind us of what we’re capable of. We also need to remember that no mentor or coach’s reflections are as important as your own inner wisdom. I like to say that the best coaches are not the ones who will tell you something new. They are the ones who will see you so clearly and reflect back who you fully are so much so that your dreams take shape and shift from idea and ideation to inspired action.
We all need community and to experience a sense of belonging with ourselves and with others. I read a quote recently that directly applies to the types of communities I seek out and create, “Go where you are celebrated.”
We all have unique gifts and strengths to share with the world. It is often the quirkiest or dorkiest parts of who you are that will shine a light on your greatest talents.
We all experience terminal uniqueness and believe our weaknesses and greatest fears are unique to us. Similarly, we are much more present to the parts of ourselves that are fear-based and ego-driven than the fullest expression of our gifts and essence. Consider that the gifts we see in others are often a reflection of the disowned parts of ourselves.
Go where you are celebrated, in business and in life.
Give yourself permission to be more fully you.
Gift yourself self-acceptance, self-compassion, and your own dang pedestal!
ARE YOU READY TO TRULY CREATE YOUR PURPOSE-DRIVEN BUSINESS ON YOUR OWN TERMS?
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Catherine is a Master Certified Coach and bestselling author of Belonging: Overcome Your Inner Critic and Reclaim Your Joy.
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