How many times have you told yourself you were going to start your own business? Perhaps you keep saying you’re going to lose weight or quit smoking. If this sounds like you, have you ever taken a moment to think about why you keep asking yourself the same questions? Why is it that other people seem to be getting in the game, reaching their goals and winning, while you, on the other hand, are stuck on the sidelines?
Many prospective business owners share similar fears when they come seeking coaching services for their start-up business idea. The thing that I understand is that the minute someone decides to pick up the phone or sends out the email asking for help, they have taken the first step to get in the game. My job is to help position them to score and set them up for the win.
I recently had a conversation with someone about a successful business in Cincinnati. She went on and on telling me about how she admired this middle-aged woman she use to work for, who had built this incredible business from the ground up. When she finally mentioned the woman’s name, I couldn’t stop smiling, because I helped launch that woman’s business in 2004. In fact, at that time, I even nicknamed her.
I vividly recall when she first came to me with her business idea. She was concerned that she was too old and not educated enough to start a business, but she had this incredible dream of leaving a legacy for her sons. She shared all of her fears with me, and before I knew it, she was telling me what a bad idea it was, and all of the reasons why she shouldn’t launch the business. I am not sure about what she believed my role to be as a coach and a business consultant, but next came the big question that earned her the nickname.
She begged, “Please stop me from doing something stupid!?”
Here she was in our consulting appointment, begging me to
talk her out of her business idea.
The look on her face let me know that she was ever so serious. I remember when she began packing up her things. She had effectively talked herself out of her own idea. She shared with me how she had taken her idea to people who were supposed to help her, but instead they turned her away and told her it was too late in life to be starting a business. They told her it was harder for women to make it in business, and how it was difficult for a black woman. She decided to ignore what they told her and to keep exploring her idea with a consultant. And before you know it, she had sat right there at my coffee table and spearheaded her own continual degradation.
At first I was puzzled. I felt helpless. I didn’t know what to say. I had just watched the Wizard of Oz with my four and ten year old daughters, and without a doubt, this woman reminded me of a character in that movie. I desperately wanted to help her, but she had done such a great job of talking herself out of her business idea that although I thought she had a great idea and all the right stuff to make it in business, she almost convinced me that she should just throw in the towel.
As she gathered her stuff and headed down the hallway towards the front door, I yelled.
“Wait! You remind me of the Cowardly Lion”.
She turned and looked at me, almost in hysterics and said, “what?”
I explained to her that over the weekend, I had watched the Wizard of Oz with my children, and she was acting just like the Lion. Here he was the king of the jungle, and he lacked courage. I explained to her how I found it interesting that the writer chose to depict the lion as a coward. When in actuality it is really because of the lion’s courage that he earned his nickname as King of the Jungle.
I explained to her that in nature, lions are literally fraidy cats, but despite their fears they do things anyway. Animal enthusiasts will tell you that lions in fact are afraid of giraffe’s, hippos, and elephants, which are all bigger in stature than the lion. It is because of their courage alone that they are able to exert raw power and strength over the other animals in the jungle, even the ones they are afraid of.
The writer of the Wizard of Oz depicts this characteristic in the Cowardly Lion in this quote from the movie:
Cowardly Lion: “All right, I’ll go in there for Dorothy. Wicked Witch or no Wicked Witch, guards or no guards, I’ll tear them apart. I may not come out alive, but I’m going in there. There’s only one thing I want you fellows to do.”
Tinman, Scarecrow: “What’s that?”
Cowardly Lion: “Talk me out of it!”
I’m so glad I made the connection that day between the Cowardly Lion and my client, because rather than allowing her dreams to die that day at my coffee table, we sat back down and completed the paper work to establish her business. Then we wrote out a few measurable goals and got to work turning her dreams to reality. She eventually turned over the reigns of the business to one of her sons. Her story ended as a happily ever after tale, as goes the stories of so many of my clients who have since reminded me of her.
If you feel like you are a lot like the Cowardly Lion, perhaps it’s time for you to enlist the assistance of a coach. The Cowardly Lion had Dorothy. My client’s have me.
I would be happy to talk with you about your business idea. One thing is for certain; you won’t leave my presence without tangible next steps.
Cultural Impact LLC offers business and technology coaching and consulting. We offer web design & hosting, domains, and social media marketing services as well. We work with new and existing businesses. We also offer leadership training to help build employee confidence and morale.
Give us a call at 513-549-4622 or fill out our contact form below, and we will reach out to you to schedule an appointment.