Over the years, I’ve helped hundreds of people branch out into new territory to discover their Yippee. They’ve started new businesses, switched careers, learned to love their old jobs, sold their companies, taken sabbaticals and, in many other ways, made huge life shifts that changed the trajectory of their lives forever. And one thing I learned?
If you let your fears and limiting beliefs guide you, the endeavor often falls short of reaching the yippee of your dreams.
Anna Lisa is an organized, hard-working, smart, honest woman with a dozen years business experience. In each position, she has increased her effectiveness, inventiveness and level of responsibility.
Recently, she hired me to help her think through starting her own small service company. She is already in the industry, handling big projects and generating significant fees for her employer. But, while laying out her thoughts for her business, she repeatedly said, I want to start with small clients.
“Why small clients? “ I asked.
“I don’t have a degree,” she looked down at her hands as though embarrassed. “And small clients might not care. Plus, if I keep it small, I won’t lose control.”
She shrugged her shoulders. “So if it fails, I won’t be embarrassed in front of a lot of people”.
Of course there are times to start small. I call this make a little, sell a little. But there are other times when what is required is: “go big or go home”. In Anna Lisa’s business, the ONLY way to be successful is to go for big clients. The numbers simply won’t work with small clients. Yet, her insecurity about her lack of a degree and wanting to be “in control” were driving this new endeavor and leading her down a path of failure that would, in turn, justify her fearful beliefs.
These were Anna Lisa’s fears, if you recognize them, you’re not alone!
- It’s safer to stay small and in control
- I may not have what it takes
- If I’m going to fail (which I’m afraid I will) then at least it will be inconspicuous.
If Anna Lisa persists with playing small, she will likely be working long hours and not making enough money. Will she blame her business model? Not likely – she’ll blame herself.
What can Anna Lisa (and YOU) do to make sure your limiting beliefs aren’t driving your next big leap into discovering your yippee? Here are five questions to ask yourself if you are considering a change. Remember to ask them in this order:
- What are the results or outcomes I want here? I want a business that will produce X income and that I can do from a home-based office.
- Why is getting that result important? We want to start a family and this will give me the flexibility I need. Then I can be the mom AND career woman I’ve always wanted to be.
- What are the strengths I bring to the situation? I’ve been in the business for a long time, I know it well; I’m organized, hard-working and good at making connections.
- What are the assumptions I’m making? There is a need for what I do. People will pay for what I do. Starting small is prudent. Starting small means small clients.
- Are all of these assumptions true?
Number Five is a doozy. We often believe in our limiting beliefs as if they were a religion. But if we can open that door and question our assumptions, we can see what’s holding us back.
In Anna Lisa’s case, she had to look into what the facts were and what her fears were, identifying whether her service was even something small clients would pay for, and if so, would they pay enough for the X income she needed to reach her financial goals. She also needed to look at how many small clients she would need in order to have the flexibility she craved to be a working mom.
Starting a new endeavor can be tough because all of our insecurities pop up and they seem so very TRUE. But if you can sit down, take a breather and ask yourself these questions, starting first with what you want rather than what you fear, then you will be sure that (false) limiting beliefs are not in the driver’s seat!
Tell me what you discover. Until next Tuesday.