All of a sudden, I am crying.
I never cry. Well, rarely.
And now I’m crying about an assignment that my business mastermind coach issued to our group. There’s not supposed to be crying in business. (Right?!)
The assignment was simple. We are supposed to write a post that explores the fact that people make decisions irrationally and emotionally. To do this, we were asked to argue the opposite of a belief we held dear. After all, people don’t make bad decisions. They make decisions that fit their worldview.
This emotional decision-making process is the reason we have such polarized groups of people. Republicans and Democrats. Vegans and Carnivores. Vaxers and Anti-vaxers. We all make choices based on our experiences, our upbringing, and what are circumstances are.
So why am I crying?
I needed to pick a topic for the assignment. I started in the easiest place.
Then, I kept following my train of thought to more personal places.
- Why you should never be an entrepreneur
- Why you should just be happy where you are, with what you have
- A mother should never put herself first
- Why you shouldn’t work with me
- Why I’m not good enough
I am giving a voice and a platform to my greatest insecurities and self-doubts that live inside my head. (Do you have those voices, too?) Usually, I’m good at pushing them down and quieting them.
Staying busy keeps them quiet.
Surrounding myself with other people that are the same brand of ‘crazy’ as me keeps them quiet.
Ignoring them keeps them quiet.
Inviting my gremlins out of the dark, giving them a loudspeaker, and inviting an audience is terrifying.
What if all of this time spent working on my goals and dreams is frivolous?
Where am I going?
What if I can’t achieve my goals?
And what if, when I get there, I realize that “success” is just an empty place?
Still grappling with it, I gratefully accept a lunch invitation from one of my mastermind group-mates, and we talk more about the assignment.
She tells me a story about an antagonistic coworker who challenged her strong views on buying organic foods for her kids. Like me, her first reaction was a strong emotional one. After her anger had subsided, she dove down a rabbit hole of research to figure out why her naysayer believed the way he did. Only then she was able to go back and have a level-headed conversation with his point of view.
She didn’t change his mind. She was, however, more steadfast in her beliefs than ever. There was no doubt. She was also more empathetic to people who couldn’t adopt an “all or nothing” approach like she had. She could speak from a place of wisdom about all of the angles.
This is the point of the exercise.
Instead of pushing down the hater in our heads and the naysayers, lean into exploring their point of view. The goal isn’t to convert the unbelievers – we’re all too entrenched in our belief systems to make that worthwhile.
The point is to deal with your emotional dragons so you can feel more steadfast in your point of view. As you get more and more successful, the dark voices and the naysayers will only become more vocal and more frequent. If they send you into an emotional tailspin, you’ll never get anywhere. If you hide from them, you won’t be able to shine in your light.
As I work with each of my clients, I learn again and again that the most important piece of the branding process is figuring out who you really are. You need to embrace your unique point of view and not be afraid to share that with the world. It’s not easy. The exploration can take you to unexpected places in your head.
But when you emerge more clear and confident than before, the drudgery is so worth it.
Even if it means that you cry about business every once and awhile.