To The Controlling Entrepreneur

Whenever I sit down to write, I struggle with the same question: Is this an opportunity to write from the perspective of the online marketing me? Or should I talk about the "regular" me? What does my audience need to hear right now? What can I share that will help them? 

Nine times out of ten, I opt for the former. My community needs both inspirational and practical advice to build their businesses, I tell myself. They don't need to know about what's going on beneath that.

I think that part of it has always been a subconscious understanding that writing about my personal life's trials and tribulations is dangerous. Admitting that I don't have the answers to everything could lesson my community's respect for me, or make them question if I'm someone worth following. "If this girl is screwing up, why should I believe in her as a thought leader?"

Essentially, somewhere along the line, I decided that hiding the fact that I'm a real human would make me more interesting to my audience. And that's fucked up.

So I'm just going to say it. I'm having a really hard time with something. And that something is control.

When I was in college, I struggled with a severe eating disorder that led to multiple health complications. It consumed every minute of every day for several years, and that obsession naturally spilled over into other aspects of my life.

During this difficult time, I went on a vacation with my parents and brother. And instead of enjoying Hawaii and the limited time I had with my family, I made the entire trip's focus on food. Not just the food that I was expected to eat, but on my younger brother's eating habits as well.

I was awful to him. Every time he would order something like pizza in a restaurant, I would scold him about how he should have ordered a salad. When he asked my mom if we could go out for ice cream, I'd shame him for making such poor choices. Every time he even brought up food, I found a way to bully him out of it. 

Keep in mind that he was only 11 at the time.

Many people would ask, "If it was your eating disorder and your issue with your own body, why would you put that on someone else?"

Because when I'm obsessed with something, I truly believe that everyone should be. It's not out of spite or anger. It's from a place of being fully consumed by something much bigger than myself and my inherent fear of it. 

Over the past few years, I have put my whole heart into building my business. From the first minute, I dove deep into every book, course, program, and online resource I could find on digital entrepreneurship. This evolving world consumed me too, but in a much more positive and healthy way.

But with the excitement that comes from creating something from scratch and pushing myself beyond my comfort zone, I began (and continue) to worry. I worry that what I'm doing isn't enough. That I'll say something my followers won't like. That I'll lose their trust. That I'm ten times behind some other entrepreneur. That things will begin to grow too fast and I'll lose control. That things will slow down and soon thistle out. 

And this is when the need for control kicks in. Tagging along closely behind are always judgment, impatience, and close mindedness.

Suddenly, nothing matters other than having this control over work. And if anyone's actions or goals don't align with that, I begin to judge or question them.

Last week, my boyfriend told me that he was thinking of getting his PhD and becoming a professor. Instead of supporting him with his idea and encouraging him to pursue it, I snapped and said "That doesn't really align with our goal of being digital nomads, does it?"

What I forgot in that moment was that being an online entrepreneur is my goal. It isn't his. He is his own person with his own dreams and plans. But out of my own insecurities and stresses about my future, I put that negativity on him. 

Similarly, when someone from the Go-Getter community tells me that they're still trying to overcome self-doubt and fear in starting their business when they told me the same exact thing eight months ago, I lose it. How come they aren't pushing themselves harder? Why are they not more focused? How come they're still stuck? They have every resource available to them to make it happen. They must just not want it badly enough. 

It's mean, aggressive, black and white, and totally uncalled for. It makes me feel like a bully.

Breaking through this internal block is something that I'm working on. And it needs to come from a place of trust, compartmentalization, and a focus on the now.

Ask yourself right now, what are things that you can control in your business?

  • Your products and services
  • Your content
  • Your marketing strategy
  • Your client work
  • Your interactions with your community

What you can't control:

  • How others react to those elements
  • What others think of you
  • Who wants to hire you
  • Whether that Entrepreneur editor will email you back or not
  • The exact amount of income you'll drive over the next year

And I find that when I'm focused on what I can control right now instead of worrying about things that have spun out of control in the past or things that might go wrong in the future, my head is clearer. And with a clearer head, I can make better decisions.

For a second, fuck your business. Fuck your goals. Fuck your plans. None of it will matter if you allow your brain to destroy you from the inside.

It's time to run an inventory on your mind. What parts need to be deleted and what parts need more attention? How can you clear through the cobwebs to finally discover the contempt, self-acceptance, and clarity you've been looking for?

Only then can you truly move forward.