Passion & Doubts

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Yesterday I was privileged to have a great  impromptu mastermind session in downtown Sacramento with a talented colleague and in the midst of our discussion I declared,

“You absolutely have what it takes to build this business and make a huge impact.”

Even though I believe that with everything in my being I got the following response (which is common among most talented and smart business owners):

“So many people tell me that…. but how do I know?”

It’s hard isn’t it? The self doubt is pervasive and even when we know we’re passionate and talented there’s still that nagging feeling that it’s not enough. Never enough. This was a lesson I learned in February, surround by 5 wonderful women in my mastermind group who have supported and encouraged me through the rough times.

Especially for a generation that spent the first 10 years hearing “you are a unique, sparkly snowflake” and then the next 15 years unlearning that to hear you’re not that special or talented and should just get a job, mortgage and be happy. Entrepreneurs are often accused of having egos that are rivaled only in the political field. After all – how could someone charge $1,000 an hour? or $10,000? What makes your product worth 20% more than your competitor’s products?

For many of us, it’s not about the pricing but the stated value – by saying “my time is worth this much” we’re declaring that we are in fact worth it and that’s when the doubt sneaks in and begins to whisper “are you sure?”

Here’s what I said last night:

There’s approximately 7 billion people on this earth. And not a single one of them has lived your life, walked in your shoes and had your experiences. Some of them may have your skill or talent to the same degree. None of those 7 billion has your same passion, drive, ambition, connections, vision and opportunities . Each one of us has a handful of things we really care about and a bunch of things we don’t. Your unique blend of caring, diligence and drive isn’t common. That’s how I know you can make a big impact because no one else could make this impact like you can.

This makes me think of a nurse who, when called to a patient’s room on an emergency call, doesn’t ask am I qualified, why me, what if I can’t do this? but instead knows that she has the training, experience and skill to do the work, is confident but may still ask for support and trusts that she’s on the right floor, in the right department on the right shift. Just like a nurse who knows she can make a huge impact by serving the clients she’s meant to serve we are also called (less obviously than the call button in a hospital) to serve.

(I should note that a close female cousin is a nurse so she’s the one I think of here – obviously there are male nurses in the field as well)

But in this example, the nurse isn’t running down to admitting to work on insurance forms or trying to perform surgery. The nurse isn’t focused on the aftercare plan or billing either. There’s an entire support network specialized to support the client, in this case a patient, throughout the process because the nurse isn’t called or trained as a billing representative.

I have to remember this when I’m asked to contribute to a business that is not my ideal client or work on a project that I’m not excited about. Derek Stivers summed this up brilliantly with his post No more yes. It’s either HELL YEAH! Or no. Remembering that other people have those passions, talents and skills is important because now we don’t have to do it all.

So when you are faced with those doubts, from yourself or others, and the question is “why me, what makes me capable?” I challenge you to remember this: 7 billion people on this planet need you to say hell yeah to your passion and serve as only you can.

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5 Responses

  1. Great post, Kelly. And like your nurse example… we are focused, sure and confident in our work and our calling when we know what we’re doing, when we’re properly trained and had some years of experience under our belt. So, while passion and drive and amibition and connections are all good things to have, and they are only part of what allows us to make an impact. Our skill, training and experience are key not only to our success but our confidence.

  2. Martha Zukowski says:

    Hi Kelly, what a great, insightful article! As I was reading this, your name came up as you were on Skype! How coincidental is that? I just love your message:)

  3. Kelly, thanks for the reminder that I’m not the only person who can drive herself insane by playing the “What if I’m not really as good as I think I am?” game.

    Thanks also for the “Hell, yeah OR no” approach. It’s both profound and a bit smart-ass, which means it completely resonates with me. :)

  4. Barbara says:

    Luv this article Kelly! It’s a great reminder. Thanks!

  5. Chana says:

    Kelly, thanks for this post. It what I needed right now!