Running a business is internal work. Unfortunately, most of us don’t know that. We dive into learning how to build, market and grow a business. We set income goals and project our sales. We work on it from a practical and cognitive perspective. We think that learning the mechanics of running a business is enough.
When we struggle, we wonder, why? Why, if I’ve taken the classes and learned all the mechanics, am I still struggling? Why is there still fear? Why do I still get stuck?
What’s often missed in the world of owning and running a business is the internal work of doing so. Running a business can be emotional, overwhelming and stressful. We can easily get so focused on the external work that we lose focus of our internal experience as it relates to our business.
When we struggle or feel stuck, we blame ourselves and push ourselves even harder. We look for something outside of ourselves to find the answers to our stuckness or inability to move the way we want to.
So, what gets in our way? News flash…it’s not your mindset.
TOP 3 OBSTACLES FOR WOMEN IN BUSINESS
BELIEVING YOU CAN DO IT ALL YOURSELF
Since women have been conditioned to put others first and not ask or want something for themselves, it can be incredibly difficult to admit that they’re struggling and far more difficult to then ask for help with the struggle.
How does this belief get in the way? Oftentimes it can bring on feelings of shame and guilt about not being able to do it themselves, and they start getting stuck with their goals. It also creates a lot of overwhelm and stress, which negatively impacts your overall health.
What do do:
Human beings are programmed to need and depend on each other. The message that we shouldn’t need help is not true and is also extremely damaging. It causes people to isolate unnecessarily and feel overwhelmed and stuck.
Instead, try recognizing that as a member of the human species, you need other people and that it’s ok to ask for help. We are not meant to do things alone and without support. Allow others to take care of you too.
Also remember that as a human, you’re going to sometimes struggle or get stuck. It’s part of the process. It doesn’t mean there’s anything wrong with you. It just means you’re human. And there’s no shame in being human.
Perfectionism is the need for you and your performance to be correct or flawless. There is no rom for error in perfectionism.
The perfectionist doesn’t set high standards, she sets up unrealistic standards.
I often hear things like this from my clients:
I don’t want to be afraid
I don’t want to struggle or feel stuck
I don’t want people to think...
I should be able to do it all, what’s wrong with me?
These are just a few examples of how women can have unreasonable expectations of themselves. In essence, women often expect themselves NOT to be human. Whether it’s the mile-high to-do list, or expecting not to struggle, expecting to do it all and flawlessly, and everything in between, asking more of yourself than you’re capable of doing is a set up for failure. Unrealistic expectations will make you feel like you’re failing. Every. Single. Time.
How does perfectionism interfere? Again, it keeps you in fight or flight and raises your stress which negatively impacts your well being. It fuels fear and anxiety and focuses more on what you did wrong, not what you did right.
What to do?
Embrace your imperfection. To be human is to be imperfect. There’s no way around that. Work towards acceptance of how perfectly imperfect you are and how all that makes you is human.
Check in with your expectations. Are they realistic? Does your to do list give you panic just by looking at it? Are you expecting yourself to be flawless (aka perfect)? Managing your expectations of yourself and others, bringing them back down to human level, will help decrease stress significantly, get you out of fight/flight/freeze and keep you moving with more ease.
And now….the award for the biggest obstacle goes to….Drum roll please…..
Criticizing ourselves, speaking to ourselves with harshness, is one of the most damaging and unproductive things we can do in business and in life in general. It is the largest contributor to getting stuck and feeling like you’re failing.
How does it interfere? It keeps us stuck in the same cycle over and over again and does not allow us to move forward and shine the way we want and deserve to! It can bring on depression since you hyper-focus on what you did wrong and how you’re flawed, what’s negative about you. Self-criticism makes life much harder by adding stress and agitation. It also keeps us stuck.
When we put ourselves down and speak to ourselves with harshness, our brain and body get confused…why am I attacking myself? We push ourselves further into survival mode (fight/fly/freeze) and the cycle continues over and over again.
What to do?
Try speaking to yourself like you would a good friend. How would you respond to a friend who was struggling? What words would you use? What would your tone sound like?
Practicing self-compassion and kindness will help your body soothe and calm down from stress which will help you think more clearly. You’ll be able to gently help yourself take one tiny step and keep moving forward with more ease.
Struggling with these obstacles is fairly common. You’re not alone in this. But, if you can work towards accepting your imperfect humanity, keep your expectations manageable, and treat yourself with kindness and compassion, you will be able to run your business with more ease, feel more fulfillment, and experience more joy.
WILD WOMAN SUCCESS TIP
1. Identify the obstacle that interferes in your life the most.
2. Visualize your obstacle. If you could give it form, what would it look like? What shape or color would it be? Does it have a human form? An animal form? An imaginary form?
3. Make a doodle of it. No art experience required! Just have fun releasing this obstacle onto the page.
4. Write a free flow letter to your obstacle. Be open, honest, real.
5. Check in, what was it like to connect to your inner obstacle in this way? How can you continue to interact with it so that you can have more management of it?
My doodle of my biggest obstacle, perfectionism.
Learning to interact with your obstacle (s) is a way to get them out into the open and into your consciousness. Otherwise, they remain out of your consciousness and get in the driver's seat before you know it.
Myriam Martinez is a Women's Mental Wellbeing Coach, Creativity Mentor, Art Therapist , and stick figure artist based out of Northern California. She gently guides women to embrace their Woman-ity© and love themselves fiercely through the power of the creative process. Her calling in this life is to teach women the power and importance of putting themselves first, loving themselves fiercely, and tapping into their creativity in order to bring more happiness, success, and ease into their lives.
To learn more about Myriam click here: https://www.myriammartinezcoaching.com/