You know those turning points in life you’ll always remember? Tucked away in the back of my mind is the vivid memory of a quiet night. I was seventeen and alone, curled up on a lumpy bed in a rented motorhome parked in some dark, random parking lot. I could smell the asphalt after a sweltering day in Atlanta, and I was feeling nauseous, scared, and mute. It was happening again.
Every summer of my childhood since I was ten years old, my family took trips all over the US. This year, once we arrived in Atlanta, we rented a motorhome with plans to drive through the state of Georgia. That first night, my family went to dinner, while I suffered in silence.
My dad was a card-carrying member of the Flying Physicians – doctors whose hobby was flying their own planes – and we flew everywhere in his boiling-hot, six-seater airplane. Imagine being trapped in your stuffy bedroom closet, which suddenly shoots up to 10,000 feet in the sky. There’s a sense of vertigo, and you’re slowly melting in the stifling heat as the closet climbs.
What events led to that turning point in my life? Well, twelve hours before that awful night . . .
We’re about to fly to Atlanta from a tiny airport at home in South Texas, and it’s 100 degrees in the shade. I’m boarding Dad’s airplane, and now I’m trapped in this stuffy, scary closet. My dread is growing, and I’m dripping with sweat, knowing I have to endure another torturous flight.
What I didn’t know then was that the deadly combination of stress, heat, and altitude triggered migraine headaches, which left me sick, blind, mute, and afraid.
And because this happened every summer, I now know I was depressed the whole school year, waiting for that crippling anxiety and trauma of the next flight. I felt isolated, alone, and invisible.
Here’s what I realized that night, alone in that steamy Atlanta parking lot: I didn’t know how to ask for help. I had no words – and no one was going to rescue me. I truly believed I had only two choices in life: avoid or suffer.
On those agonizing flights, I would sing songs over and over in my mind. That night, I was silently singing in the motorhome, trying to calm myself. Why did songs come easily, but words failed me?
With a shock, I realized music and dance were also languages I had learned and mastered. My turning point emerged while curled up on that lumpy bed. That shift in my thinking gave me the confidence to approach words in a more intentional way.
While I didn’t know how to ask for help, I knew it was up to me to figure it out. I didn’t want my parents to be angry or disappointed or worried. Does this sound like a Good Girl you know?
That realization started my quest to find my voice, speak up, speak out, and step into my power. Working with mentors and guides, I have researched, studied, practiced, and built my business on this foundation. I will never again feel trapped and powerless.
Many women end up alone in the “steamy parking lot” of their business, worried about their next “flight.” If you’re not aware of what’s happening in your head and your business, you may fall into the same traps with false foundations and beliefs that hold you captive.
You’ve likely heard of the impostor syndrome. In 1985, Dr. Pauline Rose Clance published The Impostor Phenomenon: When Success Makes You Feel Like a Fake. She developed the concept based on patients in her clinical practice, and it’s become a popular topic for women in the twenty-first century.
While the impostor syndrome is very real and many high achievers struggle with this mindset, I believe many women business owners (especially Good Girls) have additional challenges, including stories in their heads that keep them frustrated and limited.
What beliefs do you have that are causing you grief? For example, do you think you need more clients in order to increase your income? Or do you think you need to keep your prices low to ensure clients can afford your services?
We all have false foundational beliefs, and they’re deeply ingrained. We learn them early and can struggle with them all our lives. These limiting beliefs – our own personal myths – are what I call false foundations.
As a child, I believed I had only two choices in life: avoid or suffer. While I learned how to communicate better, it wasn’t until I was in my thirties that I understood how that belief was keeping me trapped. Then I started seeing it everywhere in my life.
The patterns, beliefs, and habits I see as I work with women business owners may be limiting you too. You may be restricting your business growth without even realizing it.
All thoughts, beliefs, actions, and habits serve a purpose. We may not know or understand the purpose, but it exists.
Could it be that the person who is always late to meetings secretly (perhaps unknowingly) loves the attention she gets when making an entrance?
Could it be that keeping your pricing artificially low (perhaps unconsciously) allows you to feel generous?
Could it be that your fear of success is more powerful than your fear of failure?
Our thoughts, beliefs, actions, and habits frequently work to protect us. If I believe my pricing is “fine,” that preempts my anxiety of feeling hurt by imagined objections or rejection. I may have a false sense of security, but believing my pricing is “fine” feels far less risky than increasing my pricing.
I may further believe that leaving my pricing alone allows me to bring in more clients, because lower prices make it possible for more people to work with me – even if they are not ideal buyers.
This circular thinking will keep me and my business very limited – but it feels safe.
-- Excerpt from Patty’s book, Your Hidden Advantage: Unlock the Power to Attract Right-fit Clients and Boost Your Revenue
What beliefs do you have that are causing you grief? I'd love to hear what you think. I read and respond to every email personally.
P.S. Are you giving 'invisible' discounts to prospects who didn't ask for them? The anxiety you feel when talking with a potential client leaks out when you slash your price because you're afraid you'll lose the opportunity if you don't.
I’ve broken down exactly why this 'discount dilemma' happens in an exclusive training called The Value Equation, which you can get for FREE by signing up for the bonuses that are companion pieces for my book, Your Hidden Advantage.
Business advisor, pricing expert, and bestselling author, Patty Block empowers women business owners to turn up their power by shifting their mindset, attracting right-fit clients, and boosting their revenue to achieve a more profitable future. Isn't it time to run your business with more confidence, profit, and joy?
Unlock the Power to Attract Right-fit Clients and Boost Your Revenue