So much depends on how you decide to tell the story.
Several years ago, I was mentoring a woman who was leaving her corporate job and launching an executive coaching practice.
She was scared stiff.
It was rather interesting to me that she was so risk-averse – most people who start professional service businesses have to be at least a little bit comfortable with Not Knowing – and the story she told herself (and me) was:
“This might not work. Actually, it’s a huge longshot. Most new businesses fail and I will probably be one of them. Oh, man. I am leaving a secure, steady paying job for a job that is destined to fail. I cannot believe I am doing this. What am I thinking?”
Need I mention that her stress level was sky high?
And because of the way she is wired, she needed to talk it out with people in order to come to terms with this big change.
Which can be OK.
And can also be the absolutely worse possible thing anyone can do.
Here’s what she told her young daughters:
“Mommy is starting her own business. Which means she’s going to be leaving her job and will be working from home. It also means that we’re going to need to start really saving money. You’re going to have to give some things up. So (their longtime babysitter) is going to stop coming, and (their favorite hobby) is too expensive so we’ll have to stop that. You both will need to do more chores around the house, and you’re each going to have one night a week where you’ll cook supper.”
What eight year old wouldn’t burst out into tears after hearing that?
Recently, I overheard a sports coach talking with his team. They were a pretty good team facing a really good team. A really, really good nationally-ranked team. He said:
“We can beat these guys! I want you to really focus and make it count! You can do this! You can beat them!”
And every player on the team thought:
“There is no way in hell we can beat this team. We lost before we suited up. I hope I don’t embarrass myself – how soon can we get this game over with?”
How different would it have been for the mother starting her own business to say:
“I am so excited! I am starting my own business! I am really scared but at the same time, I’m really proud of myself. I’m going to need you guys to help me succeed – think you could do that? Let me teach you how to make spaghetti because it would be such a huge help if you could make it every Tuesday!”
What if the sports coach had said:
“Look, we have such an amazing opportunity tonight! We’re playing a nationally-ranked team and they didn’t get there by being total slackers. Tell you what – let’s not worry about the score in this game. Let’s just figure out how they do what they do. Let’s learn their secret sauce tonight. Then, let’s steal it so we can get to the point where we’re nationally-ranked, too. Who’s with me?”
I don’t know about you, but I’m saying yesyesyesyesyesyes.
I bet there’s a story you’re telling. And I’ll even bet you like telling it. I assume you’re pretty darn good at it – even have it memorized.
Maybe there’s a different way to tell it so other people jump in with you to make the leap you need to make.
Maybe there’s a way to say what you need to say that inspires others to give you the hand you know you need.
Maybe you’ll even believe it yourself.
Hey, it’s worth a shot. And I can help you get started.
“I am so excited because…”