Two months ago a message popped up in my LinkedIn account from a recruiter. Typically I briefly glance at these messages and delete them, but this one caught my eye. It was from a reputable financial firm with the makings of my dream job – an internal coaching and consulting position in the DC region.
Six months before this, I walked away from an eleven-year career in association management where I traveled the world and worked with awesome people. For the most part I got to call the shots and make important decisions, but it was lacking a key element – my true passion for coaching.
So after getting certified as a professional coach, I decided to take the plunge. I walked away with no clients, no real prospects and decided to go for it. People thought I was crazy. I was scared, but I was more afraid of what I would become by just playing it safe and small.
Slowly I built up my clientele and built my niche working with entrepreneurs and millennials looking to carve out their way in the world, but the words of self-doubt kept creeping in. “Are you sure you’re going to be able to make enough money?” “Do you really think you’re good enough to be a coach?”
I pushed through the funk of my internal speak until, in month two of being a solopreneur, a “dream” job appeared. It was wrapped in all of the too-good-to-be-trues. “The job is made for you.” “It’s yours if you want it.” “Name your price.”
I took the bait hook, line and sinker and dropped all efforts in business development to pursue this opportunity. I shifted my schedule to make interviews work and held my breath waiting for my new life to begin. Only the email and call never happened. The promise for follow up was broken week after week. I emailed, I called and there was nothing. After three weeks of waiting, I got pissed and decided to take the decision into my own hands. I didn’t walk away from the security of a 9-5 to then run away from my business that had only been up and running for 2 months. I recommitted back to making Lauren LeMunyan Coaching work and went for it. (Sure enough I heard back from them two months later asking if I would be interested in continuing the process and I respectfully declined).
Business began to pick up and I started working with higher profile clients. The universe must have sensed that I needed a new challenge to my entrepreneurial commitment and thus came the amazing job offer. It was almost twice what I had made previously and had the promise of structure with flexibility. After speaking with the recruiter, I talked to the hiring manager and then another future colleague. I traveled at 4:00am for a three-hour marathon interview session with four points of contact (P.S. there were no scheduled food or bathroom breaks in between the 10:30am – 1:30pm timeframe). I was authentically me the whole time and felt appreciated for it. I felt like I found my people. The job was surely mine.
“You’ll hear from me early next week.” The recruiter promised.
I thought this was odd given this was in between Christmas and New Years, but maybe they were really dedicated to the process.
No call. No email. The doubt started to creep in, but I didn’t waiver from building or maintaining my business. It was either going to be the right fit or not.
Another week passed and I reached out and got an out of office response, so I reached out to the hiring manager. No decision had been made, but they asked if I could continue meeting with regional managers. Sure not a problem.
I then reached out to schedule a time and was told they went in another direction. There it was. The decision had been made and it wasn’t me. It felt like a punch to the gut. All of the fantasies of my future life with my new role and income were dashed. Here we go again – another disappointment. I cried and got sad and then I talked to my coach who challenged me to write 5 things I learned in the process.
So here goes…
1) I’m pretty freaking awesome – They found me. They liked what they saw and heard and I was 100% me.
2) I like security – Clearly after two times of me going down this path, I have realized the common thread. Not having a guaranteed income scares the shit out of me. Even month after month I increase my revenue, not having the guaranteed take-home income triggers my self-doubt. As a result, my focus is now on diversifying my business with corporate clients, individual sessions and events.
3) I am resilient – I can face rejection and accept it for what it is – a determination that it wasn’t a good fit. I can pick myself up, ask for help and support and move on to the next one.
4) I was playing too small – I was secretly waiting for someone to determine my worth (or maybe it wasn’t so secretive). I was safe in my small space. I stopped writing my blogs. I stopped pushing myself creatively. I stopped going after the ideal clients. I used the excuse of not wanting to overcommit, but deep down I was trying to protect myself from the potential rejection and hurt if I didn’t quite make it.
5) I felt like a phony, sell-out – Here I was coaching my clients how to lean into their discomfort and fear and I wasn’t doing it for myself. I was hiding from the truth that I didn’t believe I was good enough to be a successful coach.
So here is the truth. It’s scary to be an entrepreneur. Not everyone is cut out for it, but if you’ve got the cojones to take that step, I’ve got your back. If you’re not afraid or uncomfortable, you’re playing too safe. It’s what you do with that fear and self-doubt that will either hold you in your safety bubble or launch you into a realm of success you never knew possible.
This literally just happened, so I don’t have a happy follow up to give you, but I do promise to keep you posted with honest and uncensored feedback on the process. So if you’re needing some bold accountability coaching, I’m you’re girl. First session is on the house.