Have you ever smacked face first into an invisible wall, landing on your butt and asking yourself, “Huh? Where did that come from?”
Last week while working with my business advisor, one assignment felt uncomfortable and I was squirming in my chair while doing it. She asked, “Why do you find asking these few people whether or not they know what products and services you offer so uncomfortable? Are you not proud of what you do?”
That question touched something and I smacked face first into that invisible wall. Huh? Why did that apparently harmless question trigger such a response? Why was the task so uncomfortable and icky?
Taking time to mull it over, two possible reasons came to mind:
The first seemed irrelevant, but being the first thing that came to mind, I explored further. Several years ago, a family member, after observing me do some work for him, asked, “Why should employers pay you more because you take longer to complete a task?” A fair question, but it stung and has stayed with me ever since.
Being self-employed for the past thirteen years, I nearly always under invoice when charging by the hour to compensate for any extra time I might have taken and to ensure my clients receive high value for their money. The higher my hourly fee, the more likely I am to under charge. Why should they pay more because I might take longer than someone else?
Although the question may be fair – from an employer’s or client’s perspective – it has undermined my self-confidence as a businesswoman, as a subject matter expert. When hitting the wall last week, I realized I could choose to continue allowing that moment be a defining one or I could choose to dismiss it as insignificant.
it also struck me that my business is a sole proprietorship; I am in charge. I can choose which advisors, mentors, coaches, and colleagues to work with. There are no silent partners calling the shots. Why was I letting that one remark have such control over me and my business?
The second reason that came to mind was asking such questions of the select few individuals was such foreign territory for me. I was concerned about annoying them, about coming across as a hard nosed business person or something I couldn’t put my finger on. Asking them that kind of question hadn’t even occurred to me before. Once my advisor gave me a phrase to use, the task became doable, even though I still felt uncomfortable in asking.
After receiving the very first response, I could see the value in asking the series of four questions. By the next morning I was ready to ask my entire subscriber list of 270 people. In fact, I couldn’t get to my desk fast enough!
Reflecting upon the experience, I now wonder: why do these invisible walls exist? How many others exist, limiting and confining me? How can they be discovered without smacking face first into them? Why are there no caution signs or warning bells?
How do you deal with invisible walls?If you enjoyed this post, consider buying me a cafe mocha. Thanks kindly.