by Winnie Anderson
[Editor's note: This is Day 22 of the Be Your Own Guru series, and we're continuing the them of "how-to's" this week. I met Winnie in an online class, and we teamed up to practice elevator pitches. Then we started talking about fear, love and God. Yep. Deep stuff. Winnie's got a great take on fear and how to get past it today.]
That famous social commentator, Anonymous, is quoted as saying “Owning a business is the best self- development program around.”
How right she is.
Whether you’re an accidental entrepreneur, fulfilling a lifelong dream of being on your own, or you’ve got talents and a passion you’re driven to share with the world, at some point as you build the business you come face-to-face with emotional baggage you either didn’t know you had or were sure you had unpacked when you were 18 and still knew everything.
Starting a business isn’t hard. Any child can tell you how to start a lemonade stand: Figure out what you’re selling, come up with a price, put up a sign, and collect the money.
So why isn’t everyone who starts a business wildly or even mildly successful?
Creating a profitable
business – one that supports a healthy lifestyle, affords you the opportunity to support causes you care about, contributes to your savings – THAT’S what’s hard.
If you’ve ever known what to do but couldn’t bring yourself to do it, then you know it takes lots more than mere knowledge to create a sustainable business.
That's because many of your past wounds (abuse, rejection, poverty, loss, failure, illness, etc.) are still festering sores and sensitive scars on your psyche. You experienced your earliest wounds in childhood when you were your most vulnerable. Your mind developed strategies to deal with those wounds in the best way it could at the time. Those strategies became ingrained habits and personality traits allowing your subconscious to run your life with very little interference.
Unfortunately these little things called “needs” develop while all this is happening.
You came equipped with some basic needs standard. Maslow got these right when he hit on the basics of motivation – food, shelter, security, love, etc.
But as you develop and deal with your wounds, special needs are embraced because your psyche believes those needs are the healing salve to manage your wound. So you develop things like the need to be right, the need for control, and other extreme versions of relatively healthy needs like respect, self-esteem, independence, and so on.
You manage to function pretty well -- until you start your business.
You’re smart. You’re talented. You’re full of passion about sharing your gifts with the world and making a contribution in the lives of others.
So why is this much harder than it should be?
Maybe you’re working with less than ideal clients, undercharging for your services. Or you’re not managing boundaries well and chronically doing work that’s outside the scope of the original engagement.
This is what happens when you’ve got needs you’re trying to fill through your business that shouldn’t be filled there.
Psychologists recently feel pretty confident they’ve identified a list of 16 needs all humans share. Here’s my interpretation of the list (caution: my needs for creativity, control, and to be right are on display here!):
- Love (their list had acceptance and romance)
- Learning / curiosity
- Order / Routine
In analyzing the list of needs, each of them can be filed under either Love, Security, or Self-esteem.
As you start building a business, you want to move from basic levels of needs to achieve higher level wants. But your needs also start intermingling with each other and complicating things a bit. You want more independence so you can control our own schedules. You want to maximize your earnings so no one is telling you how much your work is worth.
But to go from the basic needs to the higher needs requires us to travel a route that in our mind’s eye is a very dangerous one.
You might see a rickety bridge that’s unsafe to cross. Or feel the toll to pay to get to the Land of Abundance is just too much.
How does this play out in your business?
You need love – acceptance, validation, connection. Getting into a marketing conversation or a sales conversation exposes you to rejection. You want the sale because you want to create a financially thriving business and you want to give your gifts to the world, but that fear of rejection can hijack the experience and you can end up in self-sabotaging behaviors that cause you to lose the sale. You might have been talking to someone who had no intention to buy. You might have shown up late to the meeting, forgotten your materials, or you may hide behind your computer compulsively tinkering with your website or posting to social media and not exposing yourself to rejection at all.
You need to feel good about yourself. Having a successful business would certainly make you feel good; but you continuously feel you’re not truly an expert. After all, there are so many others out there who are far more knowledgeable, talented, and just plain better than you are, aren’t there? So while you need clients and need to share your gifts with the world, and you want to help more people while creating abundance for you and your family, your fear of being seen as “not as good” is too strong.
And money….Ahhh…the scariest of them all. As a spiritual person you know money doesn’t buy happiness. It doesn’t buy enlightenment. But it does buy good food, gas for the car, and repairs the holes in the roof. Maybe the most misquoted line in the Bible is “money is the root of all evil”. The quote (from St. Paul’s first letter to some guy named Timothy) is actually “For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil.”
So you’re torn between the basic need of money to survive and the want of money to afford some luxuries – like a gym membership, eating out once in a while, and bras that fit. College tuition for the kids. Healthcare in your old age. But on that path are the scary things you don’t want to face.
Rejection. Mistakes. Loss. Ridicule.
It’s not the hard work. You’ve put in amazingly long hours before to accomplish something. It’s the emotional pain of the wound you thought was healed. The weight of the emotional baggage you thought was unpacked but you’re still dragging around behind you.
So what do you do?
Without realizing it, selling your services in the traditional way it’s been done and taught in the 20th century is aggravating your wounds. As the service provider you’re on the prowl to get clients – get connections, get phone calls, get paid. And while you chase the potential client, most of them run in the opposite direction and pray you’ll lose their number.
You react that way when you’re being pursued, don’t you?
In this traditional, adversarial style of commerce, where we’re trying to get our needs and wants met, we’re looking outside of ourselves to meet the many variations of our three core needs: love, security, and self-esteem. But we forget that we have all of that inside ourselves already.
Because we are love.
As spiritual beings in human form, we truly are love at our core.
We were created by the Divine. The all-knowing, all-loving, source of all.
You don’t have to seek love from others through their purchase of your offerings. You don’t need that purchase to build your self-esteem. You don’t need more money to feel secure about your life.
You simply need to recognize that you are love. That your offerings are an expression of the love inside you. That someone who isn’t interested in your offerings isn’t rejecting you. They’re merely walking their own path and either aren’t ready for the love you offer or someone else’s expression of love is a better fit for their needs.
So there’s no need to feel personally rejected when someone doesn’t hire you. Instead, be thankful that you won’t be working with a less-than Ideal Client who’s not right for your offering. Be happy they’re off on their own adventure, walking their own path, and pray they’ll find the solution provider best fit to help them.
So don’t sell your services. Help clients buy instead.
Don’t look outside yourself to meet your needs. Recognize you have the seed of greatness dormant within you. You really were the guru all along.
Winnie Anderson is an award-winning copywriter and brand strategist called a “marketing psychiatrist” by clients for her ability to understand the motivations of buyers and the issues that trip up business owners. She works with service professionals who hate the adversarial nature of the sales process and who want to attract ideal clients and inspire them to take action rather than chase sales prospects. Learn more about the route buyers take to make a decision and how to help them navigate that route in the free video series at http://HelpClientsBuy.com