I always had this idea that if I took myself seriously as a business woman, author, speaker, and what have you, I would have to stop having fun with my work.
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.
We can still have fun while having the courage to bring our best selves to the table.
Perhaps you’ve heard one of my favorite quotes:
I used to think that meant laughing off my accomplishments and being okay with putting in 80% effort instead of 100%.
But now I realize it was simply a cover-up for a good, old-fashioned fear of success.
I figured out that I didn’t have to choose between being a professional and enjoying the hell out of running a business.
True masters know how to take themselves seriously while having fun in the process.
I’m having a ball on the other side of that line in the sand, aligning myself with the following intention:
May I bring my best self to the table in my business and my life. May I have the courage to shine, regardless of whom that might make uncomfortable (including myself). May I operate as a total pro and also have tons of fun while I do it. May my willingness to step into my version of greatness while being able to make fun of the process inspire others to do the same.
If you like this intention, feel free to join me in intending it for yourself.
The thing is, having fun isn’t just for kids and it’s not just for amateurs. It’s for all of us.
And valuing our power and contribution isn’t only for professionals. It’s for anyone doing anything worth doing.
So let’s not let our fun preclude us from doing things that matter. And let’s not let valuing ourselves and our work preclude us from having fun.
We can have it all when it comes to being powerful and having a good time doing it.
OVER TO YOU:
Have you ever noticed yourself dimming your light in order to be more likeable instead of really going for it? Have you had a “turning pro” moment? Tell me about it in the comments – I’d love to hear about your experience!