by Karen Jensen | Featured Contributor
I’ve spoken to so many women over the last several years – across all industries, revenue models and business types.
In all but rare cases, there are still some old patterns of behaviors and expectations that we really need to be committed to get rid of PERMANENTLY.
Do you fit into any of these? I know I did…
- Lacking confidence – I don’t know why, but especially in business ownership, women are less likely to approach situations with confidence. It may be cultural, gender related or any number of other things, but it’s got to stop!
You got this!! We are moms, sisters, friends, household managers, partners, business executives et al. And we are doing most of those things at the same time! If you aren’t born with confidence, that’s ok – it can be learned. You ARE good at things – think about all those things, write them down, shout them from the rooftops. People are naturally drawn to someone who is confident. In a world of competition, you need every advantage you can get.
- Not all women LEAN IN – I can’t say I know the why of this one either – but I’ve seen it too many times to know that not all women lean in. Some of our business sisters haven’t gotten the message yet, or they got it and disregarded it.
You be the business sister that LEANS IN.
When I first started out, I approached a woman that I thought might be a good mentor, or just someone that I thought would have a good perspective. I told her I was having troubling connecting with potential clients. She asked me to make my pitch to her – right there on the spot. Well, see Item #1 above lol. I stumbled a bit and told her I started my business after being laid off/outsourced. She stopped me right there and said, “You sound like a loser”. Needless to say, that wasn’t what I was looking for, BUT I did learn something from that. She was right in a way. I wasn’t owning my story with confidence and I wasn’t prepared.
I do things a lot differently to LEAN IN when I’m approached by an entrepreneur. I know how hard it is when you are first starting out to approach someone you don’t know and figure out a way to talk to them. When they stumble a little bit or start to apologize, I stop them….and tell them what they are doing, why they shouldn’t do that and how great they are for being on this journey! Some of them have cried because no one has really treated them with any respect in their business journey.
It’s bad business to treat people disrespectfully and kindness is NOT weakness. The business world is VERY connected. Reputation is everything for a small business. I’m not taking anyone’s crap, but I’m also mindful of my behavior and how it is a reflection on my business.
- Failure to delegate and accept that you can’t do it all. We want to be everything to everybody all the time under every circumstance. Sound familiar?
You are a leader, and leaders cultivate people who can do all kinds of different things. It doesn’t make sense for you to get up at four o’clock in the morning and drive yourself tirelessly through the day until midnight, then do it again the next day. I hate to break it to you, but on that schedule, you aren’t doing the best you can. You might be doing the most you can, but not the best. Get a good night’s sleep! You want to be around to see all the results of your hard work. Set realistic goals for yourself every morning but incorporate flexibility into your design. Things happen! The people who survive are the people who can best adapt to change. Try a virtual assistant – just to dip your toe in the waters of delegation. If you can let go of a few things (that someone else can do better than you can), you have more time to work on new business and solidifying core business. You are also helping to strengthen the workforce supply chain.
You are the business! Take care of yourself! Believe in yourself! Just think of the example you will be setting for those that come after you!
All the best.
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Hi! I’m Karen Jensen. It’s an honor to be included with such a distinguished group of women.
I’m an American entrepreneur, mentor, blogger, social media commentator, frontier technology consultant, and champion for building smartER communities.
As the founder and president of a management consulting firm, it’s my job to drive the vision of the company and stay true to my commitment to transparency and organic profits™.
My best work comes from listening! Everyone has value and deserves to be heard and respected.
One of my lifetime goals is to swim in as many bodies of water on Earth as I can.
I love talking about technology and how it can be used to solve problems.. Would love to hear from you!