Would all the people-pleasers please stand up? All of you? Oh, wow. Okay, whether you really identify as a people-pleaser or not, I'm sure you recognize that entrepreneurship & the internet has a tendency to bring out the people-pleasing tendencies in even...
The future is hazy.
It’s unknowable. And that makes taking decisive action to build a stronger business much more challenging.
But we have a choice. We can either fight it–and metaphorically try to shake that damn ball until we have a complete picture of what the future is going to be.
Or we can make decisions based on the information we have, a solid understanding of our goals, and an acceptance of the uncertainty of it all.
Waiting until you have all the answers you need or want is a great way to keep spinning your wheels. While embracing uncertainty might be risky and it’s can definitely be scary, but it’s the only way we move forward.
This month, we looked at 3 different stories of embracing uncertainty. Lou Blaser told us how a big life change allowed her to look at her business in a new way and see how she could finally build the business she’d been dreaming about for years. Sarah Avenir shared how she leads herself and her team through uncertainty. And Cher Hale told us about getting clearer and clearer on her vision for life and business–and the big moves it required of her.
We’re rounding out this conversation about embracing uncertainty today by hearing from 4 more small business owners: Podge Thomas, Melissa Dinwiddie, Kat Lu, and Amy Feierman.
Each entrepreneur embraced uncertainty in a way that allowed them to move forward despite not having all the answers or a guarantee of what the future would hold.
My guess is that you’ll hear a version of situation or question you’re wrestling with right now in at least one of these stories.
You can either fight to maintain what you've got or you can ask big questions about what's next. While some business owners continue to be business-as-usual, most are wrestling with these options right now (even if they don't quite know it). Even if you didn't take a...
My guest is Cher Hale, the founder of Ginkgo Public Relations.
Cher is full of incredible stories of figuring out what she wants and taking action to make it happen—from making a big personal moving, to going full-time with her business, to embracing a bold new “why” for her business.
We talk about why she made the move from working on the Vegas Strip to getting weird in Portland, how she used retainer clients to take her business full-time, and how she rewrote some of the harmful mindsets she held. We also talk about her mother’s erotic romance novels and how Cher was inspired to make a big shift in who she serves with her business and why.
Don’t worry—this interview is completely PG.
Now, let’s find out What Works for Cher Hale!
Last year, I took a part-time job as the head setter at my climbing gym. (That’s the person in charge of bolting the plastic rocks to the wall and overseeing the creative process of coming up with new things to climb.) I had a bunch of misgivings about taking the...
I wanted to dig into what leading a team or community through a crisis can look like, and I could think of no one better to talk to about this than my friend Sarah Avenir.
Sarah Avenir—who you might know better as Sarah J. Bray—recently took the helm as the CEO of &yet, a digital development and strategy agency.
Sarah is an incredibly thoughtful leader and I knew her approach on leading both herself and her team through this time would be an insightful look at embracing uncertainty.
Sarah and I chat about how she became CEO of &yet, how she considers herself a naturally fearful person, and why a key part of her leadership is knowing others have her back. We also talk about how she structures her time, team, and approach to her work so she can focus on her own role and let other people do their job.
Every small business owner goes through a phase (or many) where they're just trying to keep up. In the beginning, you might be trying to keep up with the vague idea of all of the things you're supposed to be doing to get your business off the ground and functional....
I think we dabble to keep ourselves safe. Try a few different social media platforms. Experiment with a few different kinds of offers. Play around with a few different marketing techniques. On one level, it feels like you're increasing the odds of success and...
I was not a girl scout.
But I love merit badges.
As in, few things thrill me more than earning recognition for learning or doing something.
I’ve been chasing merit badges all my life—so much so that the pursuit of merit badges has often led me away from what I really want out of life… and toward what will earn me the next badge.
I’ve taken numerous jobs I didn’t want just to get the merit badge. I’ve agreed to plenty of collaborations I didn’t really want just to get the merit badge. And, I’ve chased a bunch of goals that didn’t really inspire me just to get the merit badge.
Every merit badge I earn is just another attempt to prove to myself that I’m good enough, that I’m worthy. And each merit badge I earn only convinces me that the next merit badge will be the one that finally makes me happy.
It’s only been in the last couple of years that I made this realization. And I did so with the support of my husband, my team, and coaching.
Now that I know about my merit badge pattern, I’m always on the lookout for it. I’ve rearranged my goal-setting, planning, and decision-making so that I have a better opportunity to notice when I’m stretching toward something I really want… or gunning for another merit badge.
I know I’m not the only person who always has her eye on the next merit badge. There’s a good chance that, as a listener of this show, you’re also keen on collecting accomplishments and achievements. Maybe that’s been helpful for you… and maybe it’s gotten you off track.
Maybe it’s been a result of your own sense of self-worth… and maybe it’s been an attempt to prove it.
My guest today found herself in a similar situation to me—always trying to prove she was good enough by climbing the rungs of her chosen career ladder: opera singing.
But when she earned the merit badge she had most wanted her whole life, she realized that she still wasn’t happy.
I’ll let her tell that story—but, listener, I can relate. And that’s why I so wanted to bring Shirin Eskandani onto the show.
Shirin has done a lot of work on rewriting this pattern and she’s found support for that work through coaching.
Today, Shirin is not a full-time opera singer. She’s a full-time coach herself.
Shirin is a life coach, public speaker and writer who specializes in mindfulness and mindset work. She has been a featured wellness expert on the Today Show and Cosmopolitan Magazine. Shirin’s holistic approach to transformation is influenced by her background in meditation, spirituality and the arts.
We talk about achieving her childhood dream and realizing she still wasn’t happy, as well as how she started to choose the thoughts that would help her feel the way she wants to feel, made the leap to coaching, and found her why. We also talk about coaching as a support structure and how coaching can help you embrace who you really want to be.
I started learning about high-functioning anxiety from our guest today, Nancy Jane Smith. The way Nancy described anxiety was nothing like what I thought of anxiety to be… but was everything about my experience of the world.
I’ve shared on the podcast before that only recently did I realize I was living with chronic anxiety. I had always identified as dealing with chronic depression and didn’t recognize my normal-for-me mental state was one of high anxiety. But the more I’ve learned from Nancy, the more I’ve learned about my own brand of anxiety.
Nancy is an expert in High Functioning Anxiety. Nancy is trained as a licensed professional counselor and therapeutic coach. She’s the author of The Happier Approach book and the host of The Happier Approach podcast. And, she lives every day with high functioning anxiety.
People with high functioning anxiety respond to anxiety by over-performing, by showing up to do all the things, by trying to be so good that nothing bad can happen.
That’s pretty much me in a nutshell. And it’s absolutely how I started off this whole crisis. I figured that I could perform my way into sanity and certainty.
Well, listener, I could not. And neither can you.
Now, Nancy and I recorded this interview before the cancelled events, the lockdowns, and the economic uncertainty. So we don’t talk about this collective experience explicitly. But if you listen between the lines, you’ll hear it. It’s there. We might not have known it was coming yet but everything we talk about applies to this unique period of time because high functioning anxiety is so dang predictable.
In this interview, Nancy and I talk about how she thrives with high functioning anxiety as a business owner, how she’s structured her business to support her with this challenge, and who she relies on for the support she needs.
Whether high functioning anxiety is your normal to or whether you’re listening as someone who is interested in the many ways we find what works for our unique situations, I think this episode will be really enlightening.
Go behind the scenes to find out what’s really working to run & grow a small business today.
Host of What Works
Tara is a podcaster, small business community leader, and speaker. She’s been helping small business owners find what works for them for over a decade. Her goal is to push past the hype and facilitate candid conversations about doing business in the New Economy.