I sat in a coffee shop recently and listened to a young woman sharing time with a young man. The two werent romantic, but they were meeting intentionally. What I heard was alarming.
This lovely woman had been job hunting without success. She recounted how she typed slowly, lacked enough experience for an entry-level job and couldnt do much else. She had energy and seemed naturally pleased in her frustration. The young man was pleasant but not accommodating to her way of thinking.
The young man inserted other considerations. Was her timing just wrong? Did she need to make several visits to get a job? Did she just need to practice more to increase her typing speed?
His resistance to her opinions were met with more support of her inabilities.
In business, we have this same conversation. Some people are eager to explain their limitations not in a problem-solving way, but in an Im so happy to share ... way.
This is a learned behavior from way back. Imagine this young woman as a manager of a team. People learn skills but dont change their personal perspective of their world. This perspective affects progress.
Devaluing ourselves is an epidemic that needs intervention. So consider these as strong suggestions:
Know how to manage your limitations. Being aware is good; growth comes from it. But wearing it like a banner of pride is debilitating. Algebra and I dont get along, and I dont use it much. If needed, I could reach out to someone with that ability.
Know your strengths. When I was young someone said, You walk in a room and everyone notices you. That was a scary thought, and I used to avoid attention because of it. It haunted me for decades. In business, I came to a place where I recognized this as a gift, to be used for purposeful things.
Avoid self-deprecation at all costs. Dont stand in line to broadcast your weaknesses. It only surrounds you with more of them. Limit or banish the negative voices in your head. Ive met more than 700 business owners in the Treasure Valley. And even if I dont know you, I believe you are capable.
Become a student of being better. Recognize those things that you may not know. When it is relevant to your progress, be willing to seek help from those who do. Take a class, ask someone to be your mentor, be willing to pay for a coach, watch online training videos, enroll in a workshop.
Find a place to lift you. Attend meetings that help move your work or business forward, but find a place for you as a person. That might be an extracurricular church group or a unique networking group.
This may not have begun as a business conversation, but it ends as one. Have you, who may be a business owner or manager, become just a mature and finely tuned version of the woman in the coffee shop?
If so, pause to consider your behavior. Youll open a window into insight about yourself. Then forge forward.
Entrepreneurs are one of the grand strengths of America. Dont hold yourself back.
Karleen Andresen, publisher of the Idaho Womens Journal, marketer and speaker. KarleenAndresen@gmail.com