“You can cry, ain’t no shame in it.” –
Will Smith, Actor
As entrepreneurs, business leaders & innovators, we are often looked up to as fearless, intelligent, & inspirational to the community around us. If you’re anything like me, you probably often look in the mirror & think “What am I doing?” We are our own worst critics & it’s in our nature to find the fault before the good in everything we do.
It’s OK. We are allowed to think this way & we are allowed to shed a tear every now & then… “ain’t no shame in it”.
Because that’s where we are different than the rest of the world. As entrepreneurs, we allow ourselves to feel this way for a split second, then we look back in that same mirror & tell ourselves, “Oh well, lesson learned, keep hustling, get out there, & keep learning”.
We all have these fierce conversations with ourselves. Entrepreneurship is a never-ending mud run. We’re going to face great risks, make mistakes, succeed tremendously, fall down, get up & have fierce conversations with ourselves. However, if you’re going to be successful as a business owner, you need to know when to have no shame. Each of us are different in our strengths, weaknesses, successes & failures, but there are certain times that all of us need to know when to never have shame in our actions:
1. Asking for EXACTLY what you want.
Be clear, be concise, be demanding, be honest, & keep it simple. There were many times in my professional life where I hesitated in asking for what I wanted because of fear of embarrassment, rejection, or shame.
Let It Go! As an entrepreneur, you cannot be afraid to ask for exactly what you want. Whether it be your fees, your website design, or your strategic partnerships- you will never get where you want to be in your business if you aren’t letting people know what you want. And believe me, most of the time, you will get what you’re asking for – or really close to it.
2.Talking about your business at all times.
You never know who is listening, who needs what you are offering, or who is looking for an opportunity like you were once upon a time. There is no better person to talk about your company or product than YOU. Your team will never learn to sell your service or product with passion & excitement if YOU don’t do it first. So start talking & have no shame in doing so. Some people will roll their eyes, some will walk away immediately, some will interrupt you, but who cares. You are on a mission towards greatness.
3. Taking time for yourself, your family, and your friends.
Entrepreneurs must work hard, it’s inevitable. Often times, we feel if we aren’t working, we are being lazy or unproductive & ultimately, feel shame. Here’s a thought- You are where you are today because of your family, your friends, & yourself. This support system is what has shaped your personality, your work ethic, your creativity, & your values. Think of the time you spend with these people as WORKING on being your best self.
Is this not that hardest work of all?
4. Having a beer at lunch.
As Jimmy Buffet would say, it’s 5:00 somewhere. We are entrepreneurs, we make our own rules, & we answer to ourselves. If a beer makes you feel better, be nicer or foster creativity, then go for it. Trust me, my business partner & I have acquired HUGE Clients, brainstormed the best ideas, & signed contracts over beers at lunch. One tip - just make sure it’s good beer.
5. Demanding what you, your service, and your product are worth.
Enough said. You are worth something, you are valuable, & you set those parameters. It is no one’s place to tell you you’re wrong or ridiculous but yours.
6. Rocking your personal style.
Whether it be a suit & tie, leggings, jeans or a t-shirt with a hole in it… if it represents who you are & what you’re about then have no shame & own it. You are an entrepreneur because you are staying true to yourself & your dreams. If you want to rock jeans to a meeting & think it’s the best decision at the time, then do it. Above any dress code or expectation, confidence is what attracts business.
7. Making a mistake.
We all make them. Everyone, everywhere does. No great entrepreneur has gotten where they are without making mistakes. So don’t beat yourself up, don’t be ashamed, learn from it, move on, & become great.
8. Asking for help or advice from a competitor in your industry.
I once read that great leaders should always make sure they are NOT the smartest person in the room, and I agree. One of my personal goals in life is to learn something new every day. What better way to do that than to ask for the help or advice of someone who has been where you’ve been, who is struggling with your struggles, & ultimately taking a piece of the market away from you. There is NO shame in asking for help or advice and that is what I’m most excited about with Startup Soiree. It’s a catalyst for this type of conversation and environment where sharing is fostered and shame does not exist.