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I always had this idea that if I took myself seriously as a business woman, author, speaker, and what have you, I wouldn’t be able to have fun in business.
So I prided myself on not taking myself too seriously.
It made me more approachable. It made me more likeable.
And, if I’m being honest (which I always am), it made me stay smaller than I was capable of.
Here are some of the ways not taking myself seriously would show up:
- Turning mic drop moments into sorority girl moments by giggling a little after my most poignant points during a speaking gig.
- Downplaying my work by telling new people I meet that I’m a blogger, or that I sell vitamins, or that I’m an internet marketer. (While all of these things are true, they’re miniscule versions of the truth.)
- Not putting the systems in place in our business to ensure accuracy and quality in our communication to our customers (like the three emails I sent in one day with the wrong time for a webinar because I couldn’t slow down long enough to figure out the time zones).
- Moving too fast so that the quality of my work suffered. (Yes, done is better than perfect. And done is sometimes even better than good. But repeatedly putting out work with errors is plain amateur.)
I’d convinced myself that I wasn’t taking myself seriously because I didn’t want to take the fun out of business. But the truth was I wasn’t taking myself seriously because I was afraid if I did that people wouldn’t like me.
After a particularly humiliating series of emails with errors went out to our entire community, I realized it was time to make a change.
Stephen Pressfield talks about the turning pro moment in his book by the same name. He says everyone who’s a pro remembers the moment they made the shift.
I decided this was my moment. It was time to take myself and my business seriously. No, it didn’t mean sucking the fun out of business. It meant having the courage to do my best work despite my fear of being less likeable because of it.
So Mike and I popped Penelope in the stroller and went down to the beach. I drew a line in the sand with the toe of my boot (it was February) and spoke about turning pro, being unafraid to shine, and taking ourselves and our business seriously.
And then we held hands and crossed over the line in the sand.
It was time to turn pro, so we did.
Taking myself seriously doesn’t mean not making any more mistakes. It doesn’t mean being perfect. It doesn’t mean having it all together.
But it does mean taking my foot off the break when my intention is to accelerate.
It does mean putting a lid on my knee jerk self-deprecation and downplaying.
It does mean expressing something with gravitas and then shutting up to let it land.
Taking yourself seriously doesn’t mean you have to be serious.
We’d love to hear from YOU…
How do you have fun in business while still being professional? How can you work more fun into your business? Leave your answer in the comments below!