Why Being an Entrepreneur Brings Up Your Shit (and What To Do About It)

by Amy on April 2, 2014


I posted a question to my Facebook wall the other day, “What brings up your shit? Drop it here (pun intended).”

I thought it was a cheeky question meant to invoke some thoughtful responses.

Not so much. It incited a minor hate fest actually—other people really bring up people’s shit I discovered.

One Facebooker decided to make an example out of me, “People who use four letter words in their Facebook posts so they can seem young, hip and laid back :)”


Now I’ll be honest, I’m an approval addict in recovery BUT social rejection of any kind still stings, even a slap on the wrist made in response to a not so well thought out Facebook query.

The truth is that during the heyday of my approval addiction, I would have NEVER used a four letter word on my wall –hell no, it might offend someone!

Sure I made use of four letter words in private, but in public I was a regular upstanding citizen, I was.

In the early days of my career as an entrepreneur I did the same. I carefully crafted a persona of the highest professional integrity.

I didn’t crusade about why gay couples should absolutely yes be entitled to the same rights as straight ones even though I felt so to my core (It might upset any fundamentalist Christian subscribers after all!)

I decided against offering coaching packages with my talented friend Dena the astrologer even though it filled me with glee at the thought (potential clients might think I’m too woo-woo after all).

I would have never in a million years create a video called Shit Approval Addicts Say spoofing myself (it would absolutely shatter my credibility after all).

And as a result I successfully avoided a lot of criticism, judgment and rejection.

I took a profound leap of faith when I decided to become a life coach and make a go at this thing called entrepreneurship.

I did it because I 100 % knew I had finally found my true work in the world — my mission.

But as I continued to water myself down to maintain my professional, credible and worthy of absolutely every client who might hire me exterior, I noticed something…

My job had gotten really boring, I wasn’t making much money, and I didn’t jive with my clients.

The problem was I wasn’t taking any risks.

Cheryl Strayed author of the memoir WILD said this the other day in a radio interview:

“When I feel afraid I know I’m doing my work.”

Which is exactly why being an entrepreneur is supposed to bring up your shit. The truth is your work as an entrepreneur requires you to face fear each and every day.

To make an impact, to make sure you are not rendered invisible in a packed-like-sardines marketplace, to attract the people you yearn to serve, you have to risk and be willing to experience rejection, judgment and criticism by allowing the Entire Known Universe see you. [Tweet This]

This is not hypothetical. I repeat, you have to risk and be willing to experience rejection; judgment and criticism by allowing the Entire Known Universe see you.

You have to be you. If you curse, curse. If you cavort with astrologers, cavort. If you get off on taking video of yourself, videotape (wait that didn’t come out right).

Because otherwise that leap of faith you took to become an entrepreneur in the first place is eventually going to be for nothing.

It’s not just one leap of faith you see. Each day you go to work you will be challenged to take leaps.


You’ll get bored and you are boring — Your message falls flat, you don’t attract clients who pay you real money to do your work in the world.

So here are a things to keep in mind when your work inevitably brings up your shit:

1.  Realize that there is no such thing as a bad personality, only a stifled one.

Your personality (the one you have been hiding under a façade of likeability) is absolutely magnetic to the people you’re supposed to serve.

Yes you will also have to put up with the occasional Facebook slap in the wrist, more than a few unsubscribes and any other garden variety of hater.

The big question is do you choose the discomfort of a little disapproval or do you choose regret that you could not do your work in the world?

2. Stop measuring success through the eyes of other people.

Being an entrepreneur is like being a mother, it takes a few years to get used to and there are millions of people trying to tell you how to do it the “right” way. [Tweet This]

And the same thing I learned as a mom is the same thing I learned as an entrepreneur: You have to trust yourself.

3. Give people permission to judge you

Like my own mom used to say, “no matter what you do, not everybody is going to like you.” So stop sacrificing YOU to be likeable to THEM.

Keep in mind that some people are going to judge you. Stop trying to control the inevitable! When you do, you allow your true self space to come out and this is how you magnetize to you the people you are meant to serve.

4. Get used to feeling scared. A lot.

I now realize that it’s that place in my business when I’m doing something that feels bold, different, and well, kind of out there BUT ALSO REALLY EXCITING that I’ve hit my sweet spot. This is when I make the greatest impact and get the biggest results. And it always, always scares me shitless.

5. Think of being an entrepreneur as the most lucrative form of therapy available.

Because it is. Being a successful entrepreneur builds resilience. The only way to succeed is in this day and age is to stand out and the only way to do that is to just be yourself, grumpy Facebook comments and all. The more you’re okay in your own skin the more you will be able deal with the haters.

So expect the scared. Welcome it. You know you’re on to something big when you feel it.

So… What’s something that feels bold, different, and well, kind of out there BUT ALSO REALLY EXCITING in your business or life? Please share in the comments below. Because I LOVE that!

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Adriane April 2, 2014 at 7:06 pm

This is great timing because, as you know, momma, I am venturing into the land of entrepreneurship-which I cannot even usually spell! It helps so much to have you share your process and evolution. You are definitely an example of someone being vulnerable and brave giving me the courage to do the same. xoxo Love you and your not watered down work in the world!


Amy April 16, 2014 at 12:39 pm

I swear it took me years to spell that word! So happy you are doing it Adriane. The world needs your kind of you.


Kathy Magnusson April 3, 2014 at 5:19 pm

Thanks Amy because I am also entering this world of entrepreneurship (if Adriane spelled it wrong so did I) knowing I want to do this path, but scared to piss anyone off. I need to be scared in a good way and speak my truth. Be open. I just saw Cheryl Strayed speak a month ago and she was so inspiring. So thank you for your newsletter topic. This really hit home for me and I hope you feel better soon.


Amy April 16, 2014 at 12:40 pm

You go Kathy. Like I told Adriane, the world needs your kind of you. Even if it pisses “some” people off you’ll reach who you’re meant to reach.


Tracey C April 3, 2014 at 5:48 pm

Thank you for this post. What feels exhilarating now is stating what I want to do and acting on it. I have always danced around the edges of speaking out to help and guide others, but in a misguided attempt to please everyone I knew and didn’t know I kept most of my thoughts to myself. Hello! Not helpful. To anyone! Well, I’m over all that (as Shirley McLaine stated). With a shaky voice and hands I am stating that I want to write, blog, speak, and teach. I want to do this because I have something of value to offer – me! This is what I want my business and life to be – there, I said it!


Amy April 16, 2014 at 12:40 pm

There is something so powerful about saying it out loud. Honored that you did it hear and holding the space for you girl! GO!


Stephanie April 7, 2014 at 11:33 pm

Amy, I’m a few days behind in my reading but wanted to also say thank you for this post! I’ve struggled all my life with the need to have people like me and I’m beginning to realize that the effect it’s had on my business is that I’m always playing small. This realization is a wonderful thing… it’s also mind-boggling because I’m questioning a lot of my biz assumptions, and things feel chaotic right now. But it really is bringing up my shit big time and, even if being myself doesn’t skyrocket my biz, I’m becoming a better person. 🙂


Amy April 16, 2014 at 12:43 pm

All great change is preceded by chaos as they say. You go Stephanie.


amy davis April 10, 2014 at 2:03 pm

Thank you Amy for reminding me that it’s ok “to give people permission to judge me!!!” I was scared shitless to post my latest blog about my “ungrateful” boys . . . because I am an awesome mom with awesome kids, and I didn’t want people to think any differently!!! {yep . . . recovering approval addict too!} But I pushed “publish” and the world has not ended . . . and I am still a damn good mom!


Amy April 16, 2014 at 12:44 pm

Love this. There is a new version of you (braver and stronger) that awaits on the other side of all that scary action.


Jenn May 10, 2014 at 3:02 pm

Thank you, Amy! This is JUST what I needed to hear as I am starting a new business where I’m “taking the risk” and being completely myself — instead of how “they” say I should be. 😉

PS… LOVED this line: {stop sacrificing YOU to be likeable to THEM.} Amen to that!!!



Terena Barajas May 12, 2014 at 9:53 pm

So timely and pretty uncanny since the next move i am considering has to do with changing up a freebie opt in offer to make a new title which includes the word shit in it and i am scared!!! lol


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