Last week I received an email from a new friend – someone who subscribes to my newsletter – asking a very good question. I thought I would answer it in this week’s post as it pertains to many of us. She said,
I’ve been a stay-at-home mom for 3 years now. I kinda back-doored into it after an 8-year career in marketing, but now I’m ready to go back to work. I don’t want to go back into marketing; I’ve actually been thinking about doing my own thing offering personal styling services.
The thing is, how am I supposed to “start before I’m ready” when I can’t even bring myself to tell any of my friends what I’m thinking about doing? I style them all the time, but I’m afraid they’re going to be negative because they know I’ve never actually been paid as a stylist. My husband and my mom know – and they’re very supportive – but how am I supposed to hang my shingle and tell the world I’m a stylist when I can’t even tell my own inner circle I want to do this?
Thanks so much,
Gabby! Thanks so much for writing me, and for your terrific question!
I think you’re going to be surprised by my answer.
I could babble on and on about how sharing your idea with your friends could be so liberating and validating, and I could easily suggest you shouldn’t care what other people think (if they do in fact respond to you with negativity)… But I’m not.
For now, I say, keep it to yourself. For real.
And here’s why.
At the very beginning of a personal reinvention, we are very vulnerable. It’s hard enough to re-imagine ourselves out of mommy mode – dressed up and having clients and “adult work” to do.
You’re working overtime trying to keep your confidence up and stay true to yourself, honoring your commitment to take this idea and really make it happen.
Your own negative self-talk can really do quite a number on you as it is, telling you you’re not ready, you don’t have the right skills, people won’t take you seriously, other people in the industry have more qualifications, clothing designers won’t want to work with you, you’re in over your head, you don’t know how to be an entrepreneur, and so on and so on.
All that self-sabotaging boloney can really wear a woman down!
So when you’re already working so hard on just staying WITH the idea and taking baby steps toward flushing it out, it is critical to steer clear of soul-crushing influences – negative comments, skeptical naysayers, energy-sucking pessimists – as the seed of your reinvention is still so fragile and raw.
In this early stage of what I call “reinvention incubation,” sometimes the best course really is to keep the idea and the process close to home. Safe and protected.
Take a few baby steps while you’re in this mode. Go to Barnes & Noble and pick up a book about the business, or about starting your own business in general. Check out some blogs by other people in the business to get a feel for what’s hot right now in the industry, and who some of the major players are. Take a crack at writing an “About Me” section for your future website, so you can start to settle in more to the idea of evolving into this version of you.
As you take some of these foundational baby steps, you’ll see your confidence start to build as you gain more knowledge and clarity about where you’re going.
Then, you’ll know when the time is right to share. When one “Oh, really? How are you gonna get clients?” reaction doesn’t run the risk of making you bury that seed and put off your reinvention another few months or years.
Start with one friend. That friend who’s the go-to pep-talker.
And then another. Before you know it, you’ll be telling people you hardly know what you’re up to, and then you’ll be telling complete strangers.
And those friends who you thought would be the Debbie-Downers… they’ll have a hard time reacting negatively when they see how much you believe in yourself.
Remember, when you believe in yourself, the rest of us will believe in YOU.
You’ve totally got this. Give yourself a chance. One. Step. At. A. Time.