Last week, I was invited to speak on a panel with Letitiah Obiri, Ritija Rice Gupta and Susan Maddison, by Jessica Gosling, co-founder of Growth & Grace Collective at The general Assembly.
The theme of the event was “getting to know your worth”, where we were asked to share our views and experiences on self-worth, boundaries and learning when to say Yes and No.
Firstly, it’s important to remember you are more capable than you will ever realise. So go easy on yourself. Think back to your younger more spritely self and talk to yourself how you’d talk to her.
Here’s a question for you, “Do *you* say “yes” when you want to say “no”?” – a question Katy Murray, founder of Catalyst Collective and Women’s leadership coach asked recently on her recent “People pleasing” webinar. If the answer is yes, this blog is for you.
In this blog I talk about how to know your worth including tips and tools shared across the evening to help you set boundaries, celebrate the wins and create positive change in your life.
Everyone has a story, a story of highs & lows, happiness & sadness, struggles & successes and they’re all unique to the individual. As we listen to each other share their own experiences, we learn that we’re not alone. By listening to other people’s stories, it de-risks the world of business and empowers us with the knowledge we need to lean in to our dreams without fear of the unknown.
As a new-ish mum (my son is 19 months old) and a business owner I have gone through my ups and downs of knowing my self worth. It’s a funny old thing when your world is turned upside and you become a mum because you loose all of your confidence for a while and this can probably be true for many women who go through changes of some kind.
So I’ve worked really hard the last year and a half to build my confidence back up. That includes saying “yes” to opportunities I would usually be too scared to say “yes” to and saying “no” to things which neither serve me nor my mission.
WHAT I’VE LEARNED
Internal dialogue: We all have an internal dialogue and sometimes it doesn’t serve us well. So be mindful of how you speak to yourself. Awareness is key. The next time you start saying to yourself “I can’t do it”, “I’m not good enough” or “I’ll never succeed at that” try to reframe your thoughts and say something positive and kind.
I always say; talk to yourself the way you talk to others.
Imposter Syndrome: This is incredibly common and can be crippling in business and in life if we let it. A top tip is to write down all your fears and worries when it comes to your ability and then make a note of all the successes and achievements you’ve had. This is a great exercise to do when you feel imposter syndrome is feeding your self-doubt.
Fear: Did you know it is believed to take 202 to close the opportunity gap?! This is down to many reasons but one I want to focus on here is the fact that it’s been proven men will go for opportunities that they’re less than 50% qualified for and yet women will only consider roles that they’re more than 90% qualified for. The reason why I mention this is because I feel sometimes it’s good to put yourself forward for opportunities, despite being scared or fearful of the outcome. Ask yourself, what have you go to loose?
Fear plays a big part in low self worth, but it’s important to remember that it’s ok to be fearful. My advice would be to live the with the feeling of fear and do it anyway. It’s only when you step out of comfort zone that you realise your full capabilities. This will also do wonders for your self-worth
Community: This is the reason I set up Found & Flourish. Running a business on your own can be incredibly lonely.
Community is paramount for survival in life and that goes the same for business too.
Surround yourself with cheerleaders and people who you know have your back. We all have bad days, weeks and even months and it’s during these times you will want and need your startup sisters close by. Make sure you have a support network around you who you can lean on in your times of need.
Business is tough, but so are you. We’re right there with you.
Boundaries: I need to practice what I preach here but if you’re a giver and a people pleaser (that’s not a bad thing) you will however, need to set boundaries.
Boundaries are fluid and will always be changing depending on priorities in your life. So make sure you check in with yourself regularly, ask yourself whats important to you at the time and create clear boundaries for the week ahead.
Make sure you create space and time for you… fill that cup back up, invest in yourself and take time to do the things YOU need to do to develop your own personal journey.
If you’re anything like me you’ll be on your phone, A LOT! I do most of my work on my phone, that said it’s crucial you take time out and allow your mind, body and soul a chance to take in your surroundings without being bombarded with information, social media or work commitments. It sounds simple but trust me, allocate screen-free time and do something that make your heart sing.
Know when enough is enough. There’ll always be more you can do so give yourself a deadline each day and try to stick to it and know there’s always tomorrow.
It’s ok to say “No”. If you’re unsure when you should be saying no, write down your values, what’s important to you, the things you want to do, the people you want to work with, and refer back to this list of you ever find yourself in a situation where you have to make a decision and feel a little lost.
Remove yourself from toxic environments and that includes relationship with people (friends/clients etc) who do not serve you. If you find yourself being drained by certain situations, that’s a warning sign that something isn’t right. So awareness here is key.
Vulnerability: It’s ok to be vulnerable. In fact, it’s a human advantage. Be human, be yourself and be ok with being vulnerable. People will be able to relate to you and they’ll respect you for being so open and honest.
Celebrate the wins: Our goal posts are always moving, that’s the nature of running a business, you’re always thinking one step ahead. This is great! But it also means you can sometimes forget to stop and smell the roses.
Write down a list of all the things you want to achieve, big and small. Revisit these regularly and make sure you celebrate the milestones along the way.
TIPS FROM THE PANELLISTS
Susan Maddison, Senior Development Manager at Discover | Industry 4.0 Enthusiast | WITechRev Co-founder : When you’re in a situation where you don’t want to say “No” but you don’t have the time or resource to do the thing you’ve been asked, rather than saying “No” or “Yes”, try “yes and…”
By saying “yes and” you are creating space to be able to delegate to someone else or set to another time in the near future.
E.G. Request – “Can you create the doc for me?”
Your answer – “Yes and I’ll probably be able to do it in a week or two”
Obviously if you want to say no to something, say no. People will understand. You won’t suddenly be the “bad guy” and in most instances people will respect you for being honest and upfront.
Ritija Rice Gupta, Executive Producer at ThreeTwentyThree | Award-Winning Storyteller heard on NPR, the Moth Radio Hour, and Apollo Theater, said “tell your story and don’t be afraid to be vulnerable” people love hearing stories and by telling yours you humanise who you are, you draw people in and allow them to see you for who you really are. It’s when we tell stories that people connect on a totally different level, allowing us to forge long lasting relationships.
Also, it’s ok to accept when you’ve f*cked up. Ritija had so many funny anecdotes but my favourite one has to be the one when her ego came crashing back down to earth after she turned up to a meeting with a suitcase of dried fish!
Letitia Obiri, Freelance Consultant | Content Creator | Digital Marketer, gave some fantastic advice for freelancers and side hustlers who want to bring in more work but aren’t sure how to approach it. She said “look up recently invested in businesses and email them congratulating them on their recent fundraising round and offer them your services“. They will have the budget and they will need help. Get on their radar early on and stand out from the crowd.
What a tip!!
Also, one to finish off my learnings…
Jess Gosling, International & Cultural Diplomacy Policy I Founder | Growth & Grace Collective, offered some wise words too: “If it’s not fatal, F*ck it!” AMEN!
Got any tips of your own? Feel free to share in the comments section below.
A few pics from the evening…
Photo credits to Amanda Summons
About the author
Lara Sheldrake is a Social Media Strategist and Co-founder at Found & Flourish. Lara writes and speaks on the topics of entrepreneurship, motherhood and social media for business. She also hosts the Bossing It podcast, aimed at empowering the next generation of female founders in the UK. Send Lara an email. You can also find her on Instagram @Lara_Sheldrake or Twitter @Lara_Sheldrake.
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