Today, I want to talk about something a little different than my usual subject matter. We’re going to take a trip into the land of entrepreneurship, because I know there are a lot of people in my audience who either are entrepreneurs or desire to be entrepreneurs. If that’s you, you’re in the right place, because today we’re having a conversation around something you need to be able to do if you want to enter the realm of entrepreneurship.
Alternatively, if you already are an entrepreneur, this is still something that you need to be able to strengthen within yourself. And even if you’re not an entrepreneur, I think you’ll still gain a lot of value from applying this to your specific situation. Let’s talk about developing a willingness to be misunderstood.
In being an entrepreneur, you absolutely have to be willing to hold being misunderstood.
I think a lot of people consider being misunderstood to be a bad thing, and I actually don’t agree.
Now, do I intentionally go out and make being misunderstood a goal? No. Of course not. That would just be me trying to get a reaction out of somebody, and that’s not what I do.
I don’t seek being misunderstood, but I know that it comes with the territory of having a podcast, for example, or with the territory of selling programs and having courses and having clients and having students…even having a social media presence.
There is always the potential for being misunderstood. I entered this thing knowing people are going to interpret me however they wish to. People are going to hear what I have to say and draw a million and one conclusions about who they think I am, about what they think I stand for, and if they think I’m credible or not.
And you know what’s really interesting? I’m okay with this. I’m 100% okay with being misunderstood, and I don’t waste my time and energy trying to control it.
Now, when I first came into this space, did I have an element of wanting to control the potential of being misunderstood, because I’m human and I had a different capacity for holding somebody misunderstanding me than what I have today? Yes.
My capacity to hold being misunderstood has multiplied since I started, but it took some stretching. As an entrepreneur, you’re going to find your ability to handle being misunderstood being stretched. It will require you to be stretched and not fold.
There were times when I received a comment or a review where somebody misunderstood me, and those were certainly stretching moments, because I wasn’t expecting that when I started. And maybe I was triggered, but I also utilized that experience as an opportunity to hold multiple perceptions of myself.
Instead of folding and starting to feel bad about myself and changing my whole personality or changing my whole mission and what I’m here to do, I held the discomfort of all those thoughts and feelings…and I allowed myself to be stretched by the moment anyway.
And you know what? In being able to distinguish who I am versus who other people think I am, it grew my capacity to be able to hold all of those things.
I think a lot of people in the entrepreneurial space think that if somebody misunderstands them, that’s a sign that they need to change how they do things. They think they should never do that thing again for fear of someone else getting upset about it.
If you can’t hold that space between how you see yourself and how others see you, I’m telling you right now, you will crumble. You will feel like a victim to people’s interpretations of you, and you’ll actually lose the distinguishing point between where you end and someone else begins.
Whether you’re a service provider, a course creator, a coach, or otherwise, when someone doesn’t like your product, your service, or even what you’ve posted, it’s easy to get really reactive. When someone says something and we’re being misunderstood, we feel like we have to protect ourselves and stand up for who we are.
However, there’s something to be said for being solid, grounded, and anchored in who you are, because when you achieve that, you actually won’t feel the need to react, because you’ll know exactly where you end and where someone else begins.
Let me give an example of this to make it more tangible for you. It’s going to be a weird example, but I’m trying to make this glaringly clear to you, all right?
So. Let’s say someone came up to you and said, “I don’t actually believe you’re a human being. I think that you have a human being suit on, and underneath, you’re actually a baby sloth.” (I warned you it would be weird!)
If you know that you’re a human being, you are not going to feel reactive to this. You’re not going to feel like you need to whip out your birth certificate and prove it to them, because you’re very aware and certain that you’re a human being.
What happens when you don’t feel the need to react? Instead, you actually have room to respond.
Let’s use some more business-based examples for this. Let’s say you have a product-based business, and maybe somebody leaves a negative review of your product. Product-based business owners actually have a really great ability to look at that review objectively and decipher whether it makes sense and shows something in their product they need to improve. It’s easier for them to respond rather than react.
The reason it’s easier for them? They, as people, aren’t the ones being criticized. Their product is. But when you’re a service provider, a coach, etcetera, it’s a lot harder to remove yourself from the equation. If you can learn to look at this feedback objectively and respond to it rather than reacting from a place of defensiveness or panic when you’re being misunderstood, you’ll be much better off as an entrepreneur.
Now, I want to add this before I finish up: there’s a difference between growing yourself and evolving past your current way of doing things, and changing everything out of panic over being misunderstood.
A lot of people are actually afraid to evolve because they’re afraid of how people will react or respond to their evolution, which is not supportive to you…and it’s not supportive to them either. You end up robbing yourself and robbing other people of seeing what either you or others consciously or unconsciously desire to see.
(Sit with that one. That was a good one.)
So maybe people stick with the same old topics or the same ways of doing things because they think it’s safer. They don’t change things up even though they have a desire to, and it just doesn’t serve them or their audience.
I’ll use myself as an example. I’ve evolved a lot since I started my podcast and my programs. If you go back to the beginning and look at what I was offering and talking about then versus now, I’ve evolved a lot. Nearly every month I evolve in some way, shape, or form.
I knew when I made a big pivot from speaking largely about narcissistic abuse and codependency to other topics I really wanted to talk about, I knew there was potential that people could misunderstand me, that they could view me in a certain light. They could think I’m invalidating or think that I’m full of it or think that I’ve “changed” in a way they don’t like. I knew that was a possibility, and I still did what I felt called to do, because I feel major loyalty to remaining solid in who I am.
I know that as I continue to do that, it will trigger people. It will cause people to get upset with me, to get disappointed with me, no longer want anything to do with my work, to unfollow me, whatever. And in the same breath, it’s going to give permission to other people who felt like maybe they couldn’t be more vocal about things they wanted to be vocal with. Or they’ll see aspects of themselves within me that they never even knew existed and be able to identify with that.
To me, my responsibility lies in remaining solid and grounded and loyal to who I am, no matter the cost. That is how I experience being misunderstood.
As a business owner or aspiring business owner, you are only as solid in how you feel about yourself as your ability to witness and hold someone else seeing you in a different light. So if you want to stop reacting and start responding, you might want to think about getting comfortable with holding that space and accepting that you cannot control being misunderstood.
Be sure to connect with me more on Instagram @theselflovefix. I’d love to hear what you thought of this post and what your major takeaways were.
Head over to my website to learn more about how we can work together to shift your energy & transform your life.
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