I find that it particularly afflicts intelligent, capable women. Because hey, we (I count myself among this group, though I am in recovery) are smart, we hold families together, we can excel in jobs, we know how to figure things out. It’s a survival skill that most of us are particularly proud of–and attached to.
It also holds us back and makes us uncoachable. And that is a huge shame.
It starts out as programming. And it starts early, usually at school.
- Don’t look at other people’s papers.
- Do your own work.
- Take your test by yourself.
- Write your paper by yourself.
- Don’t cheat!
And all around you, you hear the mantra:
- You should be able to do it on your own.
- You’re weak if you need help.
- If you share, you’ll get screwed–someone will steal your secrets!
- You can’t really count on (or trust) anyone else.
The conditioning goes deep. It’s old, it’s cultural, and it’s programmed in. But it is so not true. So then why do we believe this if it’s not true?
As a recovering academic and literary historian (yes, I really was that at one time), I would say the short answer is that industrial society required the separation of workers from their families and communities to work in factories, mines, and cities. And unfortunately our educational system became a training house for children to become workers as adults. These conditions typically required people to prioritize work over other relationships and responsibilities.
What does all of this have to do with you? Well, it has to do with your conditioning. Because if you went to school in a Western country, and if you’ve ever had a job, you most likely have experienced what I’m talking about here. You think you have to do everything on your own. (Or you’re weak. Or you’re cheating. Or my family won’t love me.) I hear it all the time. Not in so many words, of course.
I was just talking with a woman recently who said to me at least three times: I’m not sure what I’m doing. I’m going around in circles. I’m not sure what I want to be doing with my business.
And I said I could help with that. I know how to help you get clear about what you want, what your soul purpose is, and then how to create a marketing plan and business structure so that you can create money.
And she said, I know what to do. I just need to do it.
And I said, do you have a marketing plan? Do you know what your business offerings are going to be? Do you know how build your business structure so that you can actually make money?
And she said, no, but I think I can figure it out. I just need to do some soul searching.
And I thought, oh jeez, she’s got the “I-must-do-it-on-my-own” disease. Can’t she see she doesn’t know what she’s doing?
And I said, I think you have the “I-must-do-it-on-my-own” disease.
She laughed, and she said I just need some time to figure it out. She was determined not to receive help, and she made herself uncoachable.
Such a shame, really. I see people waste more time, energy and money trying to figure out how to build a business on their own. And you know how I can spot it. Because I did it, too.
I thought: hey, I’m smart, I should be able to figure this out. I mean it’s not brain science. With 26 years of formal education (I said I am a recovering academic, remember?) I should be able to figure this out. Two years later I had made a little headway. But I hadn’t figured it out. Not at all. I had not increased my income, extended my reach, created programs, or provided more service. I was pretty much in the same place. A bit more knowledge from listening to free teleseminars (come on, you do that, too, don’t you?). But not really any farther along, not really.
And just over a year of working with a coach and my mastermind colleagues I went from basically zero in a new business to over $200,000 in revenue.
So when I hear people say–I know what to do. I have the knowledge. I can do this on my own. I don’t need help. I feel so sad–because I know how much it’s costing them in time, energy, and money to hold onto that attitude. Yet sometimes they hold onto it, because in their subconscious that equates with survival.
Let me ask you: are you trying do it on your own? How is that working for you? How long have you been doing that? Have you built your business yet? Have you created the income and the lifestyle you truly desire? Are you still struggling or feeling confused? You really do not need to.
Because all of that really is possible–if you are willing to reach out and then receive support. Be in community, find mentors, learn from others, do things together, and stop going it alone. Human beings are fundamentally communal, and we got off track somewhere along the way. You don’t need to be part of the fall out. You could be part of the solution instead!