Read on how to enrich your life by purpose, i.e. to find depth and, a reason to get out of bed each morning, your own Ikigai.
Did you ever dream of being an entrepreneur? That task may have been a little difficult for you as a woman. But fret not, here are three steps to help you taste success!
Almost every woman dreams of it. Of being able to balance it all and fulfil her purpose. And with the waves of women empowerment reaching its peak in the last couple of years, women’s desires of creating an impact on the world are just getting stronger.
It’s no longer just about celebrating women on Women’s Day. In fact, it is celebration women all 365 days! And yet most struggle with even the basic to-do list- waking up on time, sticking to a proper fitness regime, having a good nutritional plan, finishing errands. They also struggle with taking care of children (if they have them), being there for family and friends and the list goes on.
To get to fulfilling our purpose requires clarity of what you are here to contribute to the world and seeing it through every day. Once you have that goal in your sight, your life can be designed around it.
If you have kids, add that in as a goal and have everything created around it. Ask yourself what is priority number one, two and three. Everything else will fall into place.
It is the ultimate dream of millions of women across the world to have the freedom and space to express themselves through their work. Women use the to-do list as the reason why they cannot and will not allow themselves to be seen and heard out in the world.
Your work can be your voice, your goal is your soul’s purpose. And the impact you create in the world by being an entrepreneur can be a deeply fulfilling experience. But if you remain stuck with fussing over the to-do list, and catering to the expectations of everyone around you, you are creating massive inner barriers that are hiding your true potential.
The to-do list is your best excuse, best distraction, the best reason why not, best de-motivator, best stealer of imagination and best creative capacity destroyer. Now, I leave it up to you, how long you want to hold onto this as the reason why you can’t become a powerful woman entrepreneur. And we haven’t even begun scratching the surface.
Studies have shown that women naturally switch faster between tasks. We are calmer when doing multiple things in quick sequence and, on average we spend a little more time in organising tasks in our heads before impulsively jumping in.
All great qualities to have when you want to start a business of your own. In addition to this, what qualifies us a little better than men, is the emotional intelligence quotient.
We tend to be more honest about the business, we take humanity as a major factor in our business dealings. And we understand the value of creativity and relationships in business.
So if women are so awesome, what really stops us from being that powerful and potent entrepreneur? Why aren’t enough of women choosing it?
Some of the external reasons are that it has not been aspirational choice for young girls as there have not been enough women entrepreneur role models. Secondly, women fear that they will be taken less seriously as compared to men. They also feel a lack of confidence in managing the financial aspects. Plus, they may not trust and be able to rely on people to start something. And lastly, there isn’t much guidance and information available for women to choose it.
If there are enough conversations as to why women make some of the most powerful entrepreneurs, there can be a radical change. The good news is that the number of women entrepreneurs around the world is increasing every year.
So the tides are turning.
Now let’s look at that area which has to do with not just being an entrepreneur, but a woman entrepreneur. While the patriarchal world may slowly be collapsing, it is still alive due to men and women contributing to building barriers against women rising.
A woman entrepreneur has three big blocks to get past. These barriers have been created and kept in place down the centuries unconsciously enrolling every woman into its web.
Those who break through these three barriers create a massive impact in the world with their voice, presence, and work. Once we pinpoint these barriers, it is amazing how aware we become if they are in other areas and how they actually melt away in minutes.
Identifying and releasing these barriers can become your greatest secret to embodying the feminine energy. Not just that but becoming a dynamic woman entrepreneur, but an inspiring human being. Before we get into the secrets, let’s take a look at the belief systems in place that keeps women debilitated and unable to get past the inner barriers of being an entrepreneur at all.
Shame is who you are and guilt is what you do. In most eastern countries there is deep shame associated with being born a girl. A number of choices are closed to women and they are made to feel guilty for choices they aren’t supposed to make.
Shame and guilt are some of the strongest barriers for women to overcome. They can lead to fear of isolation or abandonment if not succumbed to.
In the west, although the barriers are not that deeply cultural, there are things that girls are not supposed to do. They can be made to feel ashamed for it or for not fitting into the societal and media pressure to behave, be and look a certain way. All of these barriers are not just internal, they stem from outside in and can break the spirit of a woman.
To be an entrepreneur requires a woman to step into formerly a man’s world and excel. It requires her to prove to herself and the women who come after her that this is truly possible to break through these self and society imposed barriers.
Becoming “shameless” and “bold” is a potential and not a weakness. Dealing with shame and guilt becomes a vehicle for fulfilling a life’s purpose through entrepreneurship. It also demands a version 2.0 from you with new software updates and bug fixes to deal with relationships, money, body, health and the world we live in. Not a bad way to thrive huh? There has to be a willingness to be called names, a receiving of prejudice and adulation alike, knowing that neither is you and these are all merely the inner projections of people themselves. They are telling you more about who they are, where they come from and what their mindsets are with their positive and negative judgments. You endure on, unfettered by anyone else’s opinions. Once you begin to taste the freedom, space, opportunity, choice, respect, and impact you have in the world, you wonder what your life was like before you overcame these barriers.
Say what? Being unperturbed. Zen. Being like an expansive placid lake that creates a tiny ripple when someone calls you names and goes back to being placid again. Not being at the effect of anything or anyone.
Staying so focussed on being that dynamic woman entrepreneur (with so much to do out in the world) that it needn’t matter where you came from or who says what. The capacity to create a phenomenal life, business, relationship, and finances is up to you and has always been.
Get real and aware of who you are and what you are capable of. And start to make your way through it.
Get so busy that everything seems trivial in comparison to what you can create in the world.
So, what’s your priority?
Where simply by our birth, there is a sense of being less. Not just in comparison to men. But just lesser. To underestimate our own potential is almost an illness now and a frequently recurring one.
These feelings can range from “I am not enough” to “my life story is so boring, who would want to hear it.” To be low key and playing small is our residential safety zone where we think we can remain in control.
But what ends up happening is that we never move out and expand and discover our unlimited potential. The potential to create streams of businesses that can bring a massive change in the world.
You may actually always have this thought of never enough. But having that thought it does not make it true. It’s just a centuries-old un-updated story that the mass populous still buys into, yet it does not make it real.
Ask any entrepreneur. Men and women alike. They actually have a lot of this in their universe.
Elon Musk was asked recently if he ever feels fear. And he replied, all the time.
For women entrepreneurs, maybe breaking through a masculine dominant field can seem daunting. But here again, what appears to be a lack will actually show you where your potential lies.
Anything you fear you lack is where your destiny lies. If you ever want to learn how to move past all inner barriers, become an entrepreneur. These barriers surface one after another and it becomes a quick familiarisation process for you to get to know yourself. Then breakthrough every barrier.
The wealthiest can people feel poor. Healthiest people feel unhealthy. The skinniest person can feel fat. Feelings of lack have nothing to do with our reality. They are simply feelings.
You either choose to believe them or get past them. If you give any credence to feelings of lack, they become the biggest stumbling block to your very existence. Not only would being an entrepreneur becomes impossible, add having love, relationships, money, family, etc to that list. So you come to a point where you have to make a choice.
Start to identify those barriers within that are stopping you and make those changes. Once you get those in your awareness, you will know when they are interfering again if and when they show you. Simply choose to get past and keep your larger goal in view.
Really. Here is where you being called stubborn all your life comes of use. It is never a bad quality to have. Stubbornness becomes a problem if applied against you. When you start to use it for you, then your entire world shifts around. Get really stubborn about your goal.
Stubbornness is probably the only quality that can match the feelings of lack and change you from being self-sabotaging to unstoppable. It can be called being determined or purposeful, basically like a bulldozer.
Interestingly, when you get purposeful (stubborn), these feelings of lack still do show up sometimes (they are determined that way),]. However, now it makes no difference to you and seems just like some idle chatter in your head.
To get stronger, more powerful and larger than these thoughts, to go out and truly create something great in the world.
One of the greatest fears of millions of women worldwide is that of being isolated and unsupported. In India, women have been taught that they cannot be without a man. She is taught to lean on her father or brother, then her husband, and finally, her son. And in order to have some attention out in the world, women have felt the need to compete with each other instead of creating a space for everyone to succeed.
The fear of isolation and lack of connection and support is a barrier to women choosing to be entrepreneurs. They feel alone in their pursuit, and along with feelings of lack within themselves and shame, you can see why women would not be able to step up.
Women have also never been taught to be alone. We have always been told that we need a relationship. And there is nothing wrong with having a relationship. But it must be from choice and not compulsion or need. It should be a want and not a can’t-do-without.
Many women fall for this trap and end up in abusive relationships for the fear of not having one at all. Even in relationships, women feel isolation.
If you have never been taught to be alone (not to be confused with lonely), it’s never too late to learn. Whether you are in a relationship or not, whether you are working or having a small business, or are a student or a mother, learn to be alone and spend time with yourself.
Carve out some me-time every single day. For at least 2 hours a day, do something that is exclusively for yourself and does not include anyone. If it is being fit or doing art or taking hobby classes or meditation or healing or doing service to another, making this an exclusive time for yourself.
You will get to know yourself better. And you’ll begin to have the confidence that you can make it on your own and yet, you choose to be with someone. But that fear of isolation begins to diminish over time as you get better acquainted with yourself.
Take it a step further at some point and take a 2-day trip by yourself. Read books, swim, take a hike, stare at the clouds in the sky, write, create, and nourish your soul.
You will learn so much about yourself and really how cool you are! All of this contributes to getting over isolation and loneliness.
We cannot become successful entrepreneurs without solid support. In this desire of support from others, we end up making errors with the kind of association we have with people.
We assume that women we have been friends with for years, who “get us” will be the best support as an entrepreneur. The truth might be that they may be able to contribute to us better as supportive friends.
Women entrepreneurs (who have been around much longer and are in a place in their lives where they want to contribute to upcoming women entrepreneurs) are the best support you can have. Look out for them and connect or learn from them.
They give you an accurate idea of the landscape you will need to navigate as you start your journey. Have other known women role models as inspiration.
Read up about them and what did they do to overcome their inner barriers. There is more than enough information and guidance in the world if you know what to look for and where.
Instead of choosing friends, start to look for women who have similar goals as you. Look out for women who are already establishing themselves as entrepreneurs or are successful at it and connect with them.
If you start to create with other women in a similar stage as you, you can have the best support system to be successful. Creating a tribe of women that can contribute to your creations, to you as a woman, as a potent and talented being, to you as a creative force. These are all the areas you can have strong connections with.
Once you start to fill yourself up with love and have that connection with other women in your tribe, isolation will never be a problem again. And of course, it also counts to have supportive men in your tribe who truly know you and see what you are capable of. The ones who continuously invite you to greater choices.
Please know that it is okay to be choosy about people. It is okay to not want to associate with people with whom the connection is not contributive. And it is okay to leave some people behind. Know that it is absolutely ok to be a little selfish. With what you have been doing all your life with your to-do list and including everyone, if it didn’t get you off the ground as an entrepreneur, maybe it’s time to make some changes in how you do this to-do list.
A version of this was first published here.
Picture credits: Pexels
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