More Than WE Know

Women Entrepreneurs sharing Information, Inspiration and Support

Challenging Advice for the Shy Entrepreneur

Posted by Liz Fuller on August 22, 2007

120px-vintagebarbie.jpg Or Why Barbie Doesn’t Make a Good Business Coach!

I’d like to introduce you to a long-time companion of mine – Barbie. You know, the perfect plastic doll that’s been around since the 1960’s? I’m afraid that for years she has taken up residence on my left shoulder.  Whenever I was about to speak up in a group,  Barbie would tug on my earlobe and impart such helpful phrases as:

“They don’t want to hear what you have to say….”

“They already know that….”

“Oh, you are so boring, please be quiet…”

“You’re not going to tell that story again, are you? You tell it so badly….”

….and so on.  Any of you who related to my earlier  post on networking for the shy entrepreneur can probably understand the concept of hearing messages in our heads which tell us to sit down and be quiet and not bother anyone.  For years, I’ve accepted Barbie’s advice, figuring the only person it was hurting was myself.

But one day an insightful business coach gave me a different perspective on the situation. She said that by not speaking up, I was actually withholding myself from others.  And that by spending my time quietly listening in group conversations (which can sometimes be a good thing) I could be misunderstood as only being willing to take from others while giving nothing in return. 

Since the idea of being a taker goes against the very nature of who I am or who I want to be, I definitely took notice.  I realized that Barbie was causing much more harm than I had previously understood – and so I hatched a plot to do her in.

However before I got very far in my murderous scheming, I remembered an essay by Virginia Woolf that I had read a few years ago.  It seems Woolf suffered from a similar left-shoulder visitor, whom she referred to as the “angel of the house”.  This “angel” got in her path whenever she tried to write anything that was not “ladylike”.

In A Room of One’s Own, Ms. Woolf described her own attempt to murder her talkative companion, ” Thus, whenever I felt the shadow of her wing or the radiance of her halo upon my page, I took up the ink pot and flung it at her. She died hard. Her fictitious nature was of great assistance to her. It is far harder to kill a phantom than a reality. She was always creeping back when I thought I had dispatched her. ”

I decided that if Virginia Woolf had had that much trouble silencing the voices in her head, that I would probably have no better luck. So instead, I decided to transform Barbie and bring her up to date for the 21st century.  I’ve renamed her Babs, and I’m  retraining her to whisper encouraging words in my ear. Babs says things like:

“Ooh – that’s interesting, they’re going to like that”

“Go ahead and re-tell that story – someone hasn’t heard it yet, and besides, it’s funny.”

“I bet that insight will really help someone, go ahead and tell it.”

Don’t you like Babs much better? I know I do.

So, if you have a voice inside your head telling you that you shouldn’t speak up, or you shouldn’t take a risk, or that no one is going to like you, etc.  recognize it for the limiting belief that it is.  Realize that you are not just limiting yourself, you are limiting those around you  – You are limiting the value you bring to the world.

This blog was created as a means to silence Barbie.  I even named it More Than We Know – because I believe all women Know More Than WE believe we Know, Contribute More Than WE really Know, and Make a Difference to Others More Than WE can ever Know.

So, take a chance – speak up!  Babs says it’s going to be alright.

Do you relate to this story? Do you find yourself tongue-tied out of fear of looking foolish or being boring or misunderstood? If so, I’d like to hear about it.  You can comment below or send me a confidential reply on my “About” page.


3 Responses to “Challenging Advice for the Shy Entrepreneur”

  1. Nice! I like it! interesting views!
    As a matter of fact, I just finished a book the Science of Getting Rich , by Wallace D. Wattles.
    Great inspiration book!

    Best of Success,

    Would you care to visit my blog?

  2. Indeed,
    What a mind perceives a mind achieves… I think successful entrepreneurs and marketers are those who get over their fears. Thanks for a great entry

  3. Sharon said

    You’re a fantastic writer! (Either that or you’re paying someone to be a fantastic writer for you.) What an excellent blog! I have bookmarked your site to come back to and read more later.

    Might I suggest that “Barbie” may be the voice of a teacher, peers when you were in grade school or even your own parents. Nevertheless, you’re definitely on the right track by re-naming her “Babs”! M

    My biggest challenge in being a woman entrepreneur is trying to juggle all my other responsibilities with family and ministry and get everything done. The entrepreneur part definitely loses out!


    comment via

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