As we return from the Fourth of July holiday, words like “freedom” and “independence” clearly ring true as privileges we enjoy as Americans. However, these two words also have greater significance— they describe what it is to be an independent entrepreneur.
The brave souls who create businesses are called entrepreneurs, and according to Entrepreneur Magazine, they have the "capacity and willingness to develop, organize and manage a business venture, along with its risks, in order to make a profit". In my opinion, there are four important words that need to be added to the definition, and they are, “who are brave enough.”
As a longtime entrepreneur and life coaching expert, I choose to define entrepreneurs as “passionate people who are brave enough to trust themselves to develop, organize and manage a business venture in order to make a profit by serving others as a part of their life purpose!”
When I have offered this definition during the holistic business courses offered at SWIHA, the response is often,“Yeah, that’s what I really want, but what if I fail?” My response is always the same: “Oh, dear one, what if you fly?” This also happens to be the theme of Brené Brown’s most recent bestselling book Rising Strong.
“BRAVING” is an acronym Brené uses in her new book and exuberantly explains in an episode of Oprah’s Super Soul Sunday Series entitled “The Anatomy of Trust.” While Brené wasn’t speaking exclusively to holistic entrepreneurs, what she teaches about trust and “braving” can easily be applied to our approach to our own businesses.
Here’s the thing: trusting yourself to develop, organize, and manage a business is one of the bravest things you’ll ever do. Read Brené’s definitions and then answer the life coaching questions below to help you determine your readiness to be an independent business owner!
B – Boundaries.
You respect my boundaries, and when you are not clear about what’s okay and what’s not okay, you ask. You are willing to say no.
Coaching Question: Are you willing to stretch yourself by asking what could be your new OKAY and what you are willing to say YES to?
R – Reliability
You do what you say you’ll do. At work, this means staying aware of your competencies and limitations so that you don’t over-promise and are able to deliver on commitments and balance competing priorities.
Coaching Question: As you create or grow your business, do you have the courage to claim your areas or expertise – your niche – and live up to what you promise?
A – Accountability
You own your mistakes, apologize, and make amends.
Coaching Question: As a holistic practitioner, are you willing to admit your mistakes, apologize, and make amends to your clients and customers? In other words are you willing to claim your humanness?
V – Vault
You don’t share information or experiences that are not yours to share. I need to know that my confidences are kept and that you are not sharing with me information about other people that should be confidential.
Coaching Question: As a holistic practitioner, do you live a professional code of ethics that fully and totally honors confidentially to your clients?
I – lntegrity
You choose courage over comfort. You choose what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy. You choose to practice your values rather than simply professing them.
Coaching Question: Are you willing practice integrity just the way Brené describes it? Are you willing to choose courage over comfort? Will you choose to do what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy as you create and grow your business? And do you, or will you, choose to practice your values rather than simply professing them?
NOTE: This is the most important test of bravery! If you answer yes to this question, you are ready to be an independent entrepreneur!
N – Non-judgment
I can ask for what I need, and you can ask for what you need. We can talk about how we feel without judgment.
Coaching Question: Are you willing to meet your clients where they are and provide your services in a non-judgmental way?
G – Generosity
You extend the most generous interpretation possible to the intentions, words, and actions of others.
Coaching Question: Are you willing to be generous with your clients and yourself?
NOTE: In Rising Strong, Brené says that one of the biggest ways to be generous is to be willing to believe that every person you encounter is “doing the best they can at the time.” She gives several compelling examples of people who “act” as if they are less than conscious, and yet, when she was willing to believe they were “doing the best they can at the time”—even though at times it felt pretty unbelievable—her entire relationship with them changed. This concept alone makes reading the book or listening to the audio version of the book worth it.
There are eight questions in the BRAVING acronym.
How many did you answer YES to?
Brené Brown’s pioneering work has uncovered a profound truth: vulnerability—the willingness to show up and be seen with no guarantee of outcome—is the only path to more joy, belonging, creativity, and purpose! While living a brave life is not always easy – and we will inevitably stumble and fall from time to time—it is in getting up and “rising strong” that we gain purpose and passion in our lives. Brené is perfectly describing the entrepreneurial process and challenge!
So, are you brave enough to be an entrepreneur? You are if you are willing to “rise strong” each time you fall, knowing deep down that you were do doing the best you could at the time!
As a final thought, consider these three quotes from Brené:
- “Sometimes the bravest and most important thing you can do is just show up.”
- “Courage starts with showing up and letting ourselves be seen.”
- “The willingness to show up changes us… It makes us a little braver each time.”