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So, real talk. You know that when you’re running your own business, selling is personal. So today we’re getting personal.
I’m about to come face-to-face with my childhood bully.
Today I’m headed back to Nashville, TN for my high school reunion, and she’ll be there. It’ll be the first time we’ve seen each other since graduation.
She came to my school in 5th grade. She was cute and sporty and won over everyone. But for some reason she hated me.
Within a month, all my friends from the K-4 years had turned against me. Within two months, I was a social outcast.
The bullying continued through middle school until it reached its peak: One night at a sleepover nearby, she and some other girls snuck out in the middle of the night and came to my front yard.
Armed with a jar of salt, they sprinkled it in the grass to spell the words: “FUCK LEAH”.
My parents discovered it when the grass died the next day, leaving those words as a billboard across our lawn.
In those years when I was being bullied, I had to figure out how to protect myself. I learned that it was better to simply be in the background, doing my work. Trying not to be noticed by anyone.
If I drew attention to myself, I’d be open to ridicule.
Without knowing it, I brought that thinking into my corporate career. Like most women, I put my head down and did the best work I could. “The work will speak for itself,” I thought. “And then they’ll know how good I am.”
And I brought it into my first businesses. I let my business partner take the spotlight while I was in the shadows.
I excused it away: “I just don’t like that much attention.” or “I’m more of a behind-the-scenes person.”
But that wasn’t the truth. Feeling more comfortable behind the scenes – it wasn’t a fixed personality trait. It’s something I had learned as a way to protect myself.
And there it was, showing up in my business, years later.
A couple years ago, I realized that this self-defense mechanism was no longer protecting me. Instead, it was holding me back.
I wasn’t putting myself out there in any meaningful way. I wasn’t building any brand to speak of. So I decided to change my thinking pattern and force myself to be out there.
It’s taken lots of baby steps, but now, I publish every single day on LinkedIn and social media.
I reach out to you, my badass entrepreneurs, once or twice a week.
And I’m getting in front of as many people as I can through podcast interviews and videos because I know important it is for women business owners to know how to sell comfortably and confidently.
And so it’s been a journey. But with practice, I’ve changed the pattern of my thinking. And it’s changed the trajectory of my business.
My visibility, my influence, and my revenue have all grown. And if you also feel more comfortable behind the scenes, and you don’t like putting yourself out there, you too can make this shift.
I want to invite you to take a look at what conditioning YOU are carrying with you from your childhood.
Start by asking a few questions:
- Growing up, what messages did you receive about yourself? Your self-worth? Your place in the world?
- How do you see those playing out anywhere in your business? How do they show themselves in how you approach potential clients?
- How would like to think/feel/believe/do instead?
- What is one step you can take today to change this pattern?
If you’d like, write and tell me what you’ve uncovered. What you share is safe with me.
So, wish me luck at my high school reunion. And have a great weekend, everyone. 🙂
To your success,
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