Have you been stuck in the same position at a job without opportunities to develop into a role that supports your growth as a leader? Perhaps you were promised an interim review that never came to fruition, or doors continually failed to open despite advocating for a role that excites you.
Many of us have been there, and for those of us with an entrepreneurial flair, that dynamic likely held us back from being in our full brilliance.
Making the leap to entrepreneurship (or even a new leadership role or job), forces us to find our voice. Being uncomfortable and learning are big parts of being your own boss or being someone else’s boss. It requires you to constantly “put yourself out there” and face the critical voices that inevitably arise.
If you’re jumping into a business that you love (and hopefully that’s why you struck out on your own in the first place!), entrepreneurship enables you to take a no nonsense approach and put your energy towards things that are soul-nurturing not soul-sucking.
If you’ve left a traditional 9 to 5 job under less than ideal circumstances, you likely have some professional baggage that travels with you into your next endeavor. So how can you move forward and step into the leadership role that has been calling you?
1. Be Careful of “Either/Or” Thinking
Notice when your thoughts turn experiences or concepts into opposing boxes.
Thoughts like, “I’ll never be able to embrace my new role without having closure from my old job,” or “I’m not good at ‘x’ because people in my old job never believed I could do it so I’ll obviously do a bad job at that now,” are examples of either/or thinking.
Be aware of words like “never,” “always,” or “obviously.” Those words close us off to opportunities and usually are not 100% true either.
2. Embrace “Both/And” Thinking
This type of thinking opens us to possibilities and welcomes the nuances of life.
Reframing the examples above might look like, “Although I didn’t get closure to how my former job ended, I am going to embrace my new role and find purpose through my past experience,” or “People in my former job may have thought I couldn’t do ‘x’ but I know I can now (and I can always improve!).”
3. Celebrate Small Wins
Most new business owners are not an overnight success. The road to your version of success can be slow and bumpy. But that doesn’t mean you can’t acknowledge and celebrate your growth along the way!
Maybe you celebrate how you’re embracing “both/and” thinking, the courage you’ve demonstrated by having a conversation with a potential client or customer, or the way you showed up at a professional event. Take time to reflect on your successes regularly, even daily.
4. Attend to Your Healing
All of us have old wounds that we carry with us and that show up in the workplace one way or another. And sometimes, we have to find our own closure when circumstances prevent us from wrapping up an experience in a way that feels whole.
Continue to check-in with yourself and ask what the wounded part of you needs now. Maybe the answer is to journal about your feelings, confide in a close friend/mentor/coach, or continue to show yourself that you can be the leader you want to be now. (Tip: Go back to the small wins!).
5. Take Comfort in the Fact that You Chose This Path for a Reason
Whether circumstances in your control or beyond your control led you here, you now have the opportunity to be your own leader and model the leadership that aligns with your values. Now is the time to heal your old wounds and step into your power by being your own success story and rewriting the narrative of your professional life.