In business, especially for entrepreneurs who sell services that are directly linked to themselves, self worth and confidence are key. Although it is not something that budding entrepreneurs pay much attention to, mindset is paramount. Most coaches agree that success depends 50% on mindset and 50% on strategy. You only neglect mindset at your own peril.
So how does it look like in business when we have unresolved father issues? And how can we put that right?
The first way it shows up is by us being perfectionists. We want to be the top of the class. The first in our industry. We work hard and never see our own success. If people pay us compliment, we immediately dismiss them. We don’t know how to receive anything. We want to be independent. We don’t want to owe anything to anyone. We are not very good at networking because it means depending on someone and we don’t know how to do that. I am exaggerating here to make it obvious as your flavour of perfectionism could be more subtle, but you get the idea.
The second way this can show up is that we have blurry boundaries. What I mean by that is that you don’t know how to say no. You tend to want to please everyone. And clients sometimes get way more than they pay for, without even asking. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against the generosity model, but you need to fill your cup before you can be generous. And wanting to please everyone is not a good strategy. It means that you water your personality down to avoid conflict and that is not a good thing for your business. Not that I believe there is a need for conflict in business, but your business needs to stand out in order for you to attract to you your ideal client. If your ideal client is everyone, then you have no business.
The third way father issues can show up is by you avoiding being visible. I am going to share my personal story here. When I was an international business lawyer, I had a massive potential. I was the first of my year at University and started off in one of the most prestigious law firms in Paris. But soon enough, a pattern emerged, I tended to pick bosses that were very happy for me to stand in their shadow. I would do all the work and they would then present it to the world. I was only comfortable in the supporting role to the boss. Not in the forefront. It might have been due to the fact I was a mother and found it harder to juggle my mother’s duties with my ambitious career, for sure. The fact was, though, that I was avoiding being put in a place of power.
How do we change that? First by becoming aware of this pattern. Notice when you do the things that you do. Reflect on the lessons that your father taught you subconsciously through his behaviou. Fathers are traditionally linked to money. What is your relationship with money? What was your father like with money? Was he a good provider? Did he have issues around money? This is important because being in business is about being profitable and making money. Not just making money, but keeping it and using it wisely.
Secondly, notice the beliefs you hold about yourself, your own capacity to provide for yourself and others and start to replace the unhelpful beliefs by positive ones. If one of the beliefs that you hold is that there is never enough money, challenge your way of thinking. Look where you might be sabotaging yourself by over spending when you come into a nice sum of money or when your profits reach a certain level.
Reflect on what it was like growing up in your household. When I started doing that, and it took time, the perfect picture of my childhood started to crumble. I had been so well trained to be grateful for what I had and to count my blessings compared to people less fortunate than me, that I was blind to the dynamics of my family of origin. This awareness as well as healing those relationships is essential if you want to create the life that you want. If you don’t embark on this journey of awakening, you will remain at the mercy of others who will press your buttons. I often describe this as handing the remote control to others. I believe that this awareness is essential to maturity.
If you would like to be inspired in starting this journey or would like to get ideas on how to go deeper into it, you may want to read my memoir My Father Who Art in Heaven. To find out more about it, head over to my Memoir page or sign up for my memoir newsletter here. My memoir will be available for sale in kindle format (to my mailing list only) on Father’s Day (16th of June 2019).
(c) Ange de Lumiere 2019