Monday, April 28, 2014
Don’t underestimate yourself, and never downplay the value of your business, skills, and talents.
I have an acquaintance that I talk to you every so often. One of the first things she always asks me (in this exact phrase) is 'How is your little side business going?'. She's a really nice person and I know she is genuinely interested in how my jewelry business is going, but it has always grated on me whenever she refers to my business as my 'little side business'. Last time she asked, I sort of bristled and said 'Well, it's not so little anymore.' Then I moved on to another subject.
During one of my morning walks, I started thinking about how people unintentionally minimize my business efforts with their off-handed remarks and how easily I get offended. But then I had a sudden epiphany. As in the example above, it wasn't her fault that she refers to my business as 'little' and 'side'. It's my fault! I must obviously be conveying that message to her otherwise she wouldn't use those words. In fact, each time she asks that question I only reinforce her belief by quickly changing the subject - and I do this all the time! If someone asks me a question about my business, I usually make a brief statement that it's going well and then move on to another subject. I find it difficult to talk about myself and always have a tendency to downplay what's going on in my life, and especially my business.
But if I don't take myself seriously, how can I expect someone else to?
So, next time someone asks me how my business is going, I'm going to respond like this:
It's going great! I was finally able to quit my corporate job late last year and I'm really excited with the direction my company is taking. I've added some new product lines and they have been really well received. I have some exciting plans for this year and I've been really busy implementing them.
Now, isn't that so much better! Why haven't I done that before?
Is this common? Do most of us have a tendency to downplay our business achievements? Are we sometimes too wrapped up in our identities as mothers, wives, corporate professionals, etc. that we don't give ourselves the same recognition as independent business owners?
I'm sure I'm not alone in this mode of thinking. I think many of us do this unconsciously and it doesn't serve us well. I am going to work on presenting myself and my business more enthusiastically. I wonder how many opportunities have passed me by because I gave the impression that I wasn't serious or confident about my business.
What do you think? How do you present yourself to others when asked about your business?