Episode 279: Show Notes
Hello all you business badasses and wonderful women! We are so glad to have you here for yet another episode of our little podcast. This week the The Strategy Hour is all about dealing with what can be a very tricky and irritating problem. Yup, you guessed it: how can you go about approaching the issue of people not understanding what your job really is? Most of us entrepreneurs and online business owners have encountered this dynamic in some way and it can be pretty tiresome and frequent!
So what are we to say and do in these situations? Whether it’s at a family gathering or in another social or business setting, we want to talk a little about what it’s like and share a few ideas on how to deal with this. To help us unpack the issue we have invited our dear friend Courtney Foster-Donahue who shares our frustrations in these regards and she has some great advice for all of you introverts out there that you are not going to want to miss. So without further ado, let’s get into it!
How Each of Us Often Respond to this Question
The three of us all admitted that when asked what we do, we sometimes just lie! It is evasive and untruthful but there is a reason to avoid uncomfortable conversations and wasting time sometimes, you know? The other frequent mode of response is to leave people uncorrected when they falsely assume what you do or what your job entails. This can be a bit of an internal battle between wanting to be understood, telling the truth and weighing how worthy this pursuit is of your time and effort. Courtney admits that even some family members do not seem to understand what running an online business really means and how successful she is at it. For some people the line of work we do just does not seem believable and is not really something you should or can change. These interactions can be funny, they can uncomfortable, they can be irritating and it is up to you to gauge how willing you are to deal with them. One of the main reasons for this dynamic is probably that being an entrepreneur doesn’t really fit into some boxes or people’s expectations and we all know how much people like to put things into boxes! Sometimes insulating yourself from these experiences is the most self-caring avenue and if that means glossing over details, then so be it.
The Layers to This Conversation for Courtney
Courtney and her husband are in the same boat, they work together and are both full time business owners and she told us how they both end up playing down and edging around the subject in certain social settings. She often gets the question of what else she does besides her business, even though she has a successful and flourishing online company or three! We know, crazy! They have a spacious and beautiful house and the fact that they are able to live there confuses some people, but Courtney doesn’t let that bother her. Another aspect of this Courtney has noticed is that people seem to give her husband more credit than her for the online work and this can be a very challenging conversation as he is not in charge or the boss at all. Again, there is often not so much reward in going over these issues, and it may be a waste of time in the end. Our guest admits she learned a long time ago to separate her self-worth from the way people see her and find it in other areas. A difficult conversation about the particulars of her work might not actually serve anyone who is a part of it. It’s all about picking your battles and choosing where to put your energy.
How to Avoid the Wrong Type of Conversations
The idea of a single serving conversation is not really appealing at all, right? You know that meaningless small talk has no real purpose or direction with someone you do not know and probably will never spend time with again. You get to choose how you engage with the world around you and even if you are at the hairdresser’s for a few hours, does not mean you need to spill your heart or feel obliged to! One of our worst questions is whether we are stay-at-home moms! Not that we think it is a bad occupation, just that it is not really who we are and to assume that feels wrong! But Courtney admits she even lied, answering yes to that question to avoid the rest of the conversation! All of these assumptions can be difficult, like when people assume that being a business owner who works from home must be easy and idyllic. We all want to spend more time with our kids but have to juggle these commitments, it’s not a walk in the park. We all need to remember you cannot please and appease everyone and finding and sharing your truth is your own choice. You do not need to pander to anyone but you also do not need to correct everyone if it does not serve your own needs well! Great advice from Courtney that we fully support!
How Each of Us Often Respond this Question. [0:05:23.6]
The Yardstick and the Box. [0:11:40.8]
The Layers to This Conversation for Courtney. [0:16:16.3]
How to Avoid the Wrong Type of Conversations. [0:24:20.6]
The Hilarious Non-Threatening Strategies for Women. [0:30:45.1]