I may have mentioned sometime earlier that a handful of my cohort from grad school have recently quit their jobs. Some have something else already lined up, others (like me) are trying to figure the next move. Almost all of us - whether permanently or temporarily - have decided to start a consultancy. We meet online every Tuesday night to share the latest and greatest, to ask each other for advice and to remind each other that there are eleventy-billion idiots that have figured this out and we're not idiots, so we will too.
Last night the discussion centered on how to find new business. This is the, by far, the scariest piece of striking out on my own. I know I'm talented. I know I can add value in a myriad of ways a myriad of places. However, I hate the thought of having to convince others of the same. I can get very discouraged very quickly when people don't fall in love with me and hire me on the spot.
Case in point, I got a rejection letter this week from a company I interviewed with two months ago (because they are obviously stupid and, also, sloooooooow) and I had to spend the rest of the night fighting off the, "I'm a complete failure and no one is going to hire me and I'm going to end up homeless and alone on the streets" blues. Which (1) isn't true and (2) I didn't even want the job after interviewing with them and (3) Mr. Adams has told me repeatedly that if we go down in a ball of flames because I quit my job, he's coming with me.
One classmate, who is a bit further along on this journey than many of us, shared her secret to finding new business. She simply started talking to anyone who would listen about what she does. Most importantly, however, was that she didn't tell the people she was talking to what she wanted to do, she told them what she does. She's no longer trying to be an organizational development consultant, she is an organizational development consultant - and that has made all the difference.
Which got me thinking... people everywhere are looking for someone to lead them someplace. In fact, we follow people all the time that haven't even earned the right to lead us (*cough* Trump *cough*) - people that don't know their "stuff," people that became our leaders simply by happenstance, people that abuse their power, or people that are so delusional about themselves that they just don't know better. Why do the truly talented, smart, kind, compassionate, empathetic visionaries of our time have such a hard time raising their hands and saying, "I know how to get us all to a better place." ?
I can't answer for everyone, but I think for women in particular, we have been taught that putting ourselves out that like that is bad - that being boastful, proud, confident, etc., etc. (insert your own pretty, pretty bullshit here) is an undesirable trait in a woman.
And then there's the whole fear thing... we're afraid to put ourselves out there because we think there's always someone that knows more - someone that is going to call us on our bluff.
Probably won't happen.
So what happens if those of us with something to say start raising our hands and saying it? What if we claim our greatness without shame and with complete confidence that we might not know everything, but we know enough to start forging a path to someplace better?
A whole lot, I bet.
So today, on FUNemployment day 16, I've decided to start claiming it. I am no longer a woman with an idea on how to help women discover their own greatness, I am a woman who has made it her life's work to help other women discover just how fucking awesome they can be and is actively doing so.
I imagine I'll have to temper that elevator speech eventually, but for now... it'll do.