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Put your warrior face on and face your fears

Maggie - Last Day 2I’m dedicating this blog post to Maggie. She was my beloved companion cat for nearly 15 years until her passing last May. Maggie was a beautiful, petite silver tabby with a regal bearing. Her large, golden eyes were lined with white; the dark gray markings on her silky fur were perfectly symmetrical. The uneven white stripe down her nose saved her from perfection and gave her character, but she probably wouldn’t appreciate my drawing attention to the fact—she took immaculate care of herself, and was self-assured of her attributes. If she’d been blessed with a human form, she’d definitely given Carrie Bradshaw a run for her money!

My apologies if your eyes are glazing over about now, but Maggie is central to my message. Not a side note. (Never a side note!)

We have several cats in our household, and Maggie was the smallest. But when an intruder—friends who came for dinner, the plumber, kids selling Girl Scout cookies—came to the house, all the other cats fast-tracked it to hide underneath the bed or behind the couch. Not Maggie. She pulled herself up to her full height and puffed out her chest. Her expression was fierce. She was in warrior mode.

As she sat on the landing of the stairs, staring down at the entrance way and the intruder, she let them know she was a force to be reckoned with. She may have been trembling, and I know she was frightened but, she did it anyway. She faced her fear with a determination and a ferocity that put the other cats—and me—to shame.

That was just one of the many lessons I learned from Maggie. From what I’ve heard from many people, this is a hard lesson to master. But if one tiny little cat can strut her stuff in the face of fear, we can do the same.

Facing external conflict
Most of us hate conflict. We’ll cross the street rather than risk a face-to-face with an ex and the girl glued to him (who’s the reason he’s now your ex). We don’t pick up the phone when caller ID warns us Aunt Edith is on the other end of the line and you just know she wants to coerce you into fixing up your nerdy cousin one more time.

This avoidance behavior carries into our business lives as well. How many times have you delayed returning the call of a potential client?

• Maybe you know they are going to offer you a low-paying project that you don’t have the guts to turn down, so you wait to see if another project will come along so you can honestly say you’re busy.
• Perhaps you’re currently working with a client who has “just a few more tweaks” she wants you to make every other day.
• Or what about that potential client who’s been stringing you along for a month now with the promise of a project that has never materialized?
• Then there’s the client that calls Friday afternoon and needs something written or edited by first thing Monday morning.

Avoidance doesn’t work when you’re trying to run a business. You have to step out of your comfort zone and speak your truth.

Sometimes you have to put your warrior face on.

You can call it your avatar or your evil twin sister or whatever does the trick for you. Once you’ve got your warrior face on, your entire body, including your voice, follows suit to send the message that you mean business. It gives you the focus to work through your fears with intent and purpose.

You may be afraid you’ll come off as a total bitch, and in the beginning that may be the case. It may take you a while to polish your technique. But you’re going for long-term results, right? And in the long-term, what you’ll gain is the respect of your clients.

Maggie earned the respect of the other cats who were far bigger and much more aggressive than she was. You can, too. Business professionals know when to stand up for themselves as well. They have moxie. They’re savvy. They are the ones clients trust with their jobs. They are YOU!

So next time a client gives you an impossible deadline that will involve working over the weekend, call them on it. Tell them you can’t possibly get it to them Monday morning, but could have it to them on Tuesday or offer to meet their deadline, but hike your rate up since it’s a rush job that requires you to work on the weekend. Chances are, Tuesday will probably be acceptable, but if not, you’ve made some extra money.

And all you had to do was put your warrior face on!

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