It is not about you

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I spend a lot of time each day talking with new entrepreneurs who are excited about starting a business, but fear they may not have the credentials, credibility or experience to pull it off.

They sweat about their business idea.

They sweat about the fact that someone else has been in the space much longer, and is more established and skilled.

They sweat when they imagine themselves in front of a video screen, or splashed across a magazine page.

Do you need to have skill and talent to pull off a business? Absolutely.

Do you have to be the best person in the room to pull off a business? Absolutely not.

It is not about you

Here is the truth: if you spend your time worrying about yourself, you have missed the point entirely.

Your business is about the people you want to help.

Their needs. Their fears. Their dreams.

None of us will ever be perfect. Someone will always be smarter, more productive, more witty, older, younger, more charismatic.

Your people don’t care. They want help now.

So while they are sitting there gasping for breath, you are sitting in front of your mirror, wondering if your hair looks right.

Get over it. Get to work.

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35 Responses to “It is not about you”

  1. sumit says:

    Nice post…100% true according to present senerio of market

  2. EJ Ogenyi says:

    I have this bookmarked, and on days like today when I feel underprepared and overwhelmed, I click on it to remind me of the truth that you speak.

  3. Jessica Sampson says:

    Why do people not understand things like this?

  4. […] Pam Slim said it in terms I’ve expressed in other (wordier) ways: It’s not about you. […]

  5. […] Business owners, take a moment to hear this loud and clear: it’s not about you. […]

  6. Sherri says:

    Great point and a good reminder to just keep moving on with it. Some days you just need a reminder. Thanks! πŸ™‚

  7. Nigel says:

    Hooray for your very pertinent post.

    This message of “it’s not about you” also extends to job searching, in my experience – something which people often have trouble understanding. If an applicant tops a resume with an objective statement which summarizes what they are looking for (rather than what they can offer an employer), they may be making a similar mistake.

  8. Jackee says:

    We really do need to remember it’s about the customer.

    Thanks Pam.

  9. “So while they are sitting there gasping for breath, you are sitting in front of your mirror, wondering if your hair looks right.”

    Well, when you put it like that… πŸ™‚

    I agree w/ Cheryl, it goes beyond presenting your business. I have been mentoring Navy SEAL candidates who are preparing for their recruiting interviews. Some of them psych themselves out wondering how on earth they’re going to impress a board of active Navy SEALs. It’s helpful for them to realize that they’re not trying to “impress” anyone. The Navy has a “problem” — it needs to build strong teams — and a high-quality candidate offers a solution.

    Sometimes all it takes is a simple reframe. Thanks for the reality check, Pam!

  10. This was something that I struggled with for a while. I was worried about “not being experienced enough” or “not being as much of an expert as the already established players in the game”. I’m over it now and have been playing a bigger game myself. Perfectionism-procrastination is no longer holding me back from serving my people.

    Thanks for the reminder, Pam πŸ™‚

  11. Shelley West says:

    Loved this! favorite line – It is not about you.

    I tell people who are building online experiences this often.

  12. Joseph Logan says:

    Wow. Some things just hit at the right time. You nailed it, and I notice lately in talking with rising stars that they all experience the insecurity and all move beyond it. Maybe the “moving beyond it” is what makes them special in the first place.

  13. Marius Fermi says:

    Great post covering what many will no doubt encounter at some point in time. It’s a great way to get yourself into a mindset that involves thinking about others ahead of you – if you truly have a passion for your business and want to solve the problems you’ll probably feel less fear when it comes to certain things that revolve around you.

  14. Kelly says:

    Really great post! Straight forward and to the point. When I was first starting my business I hesitated because I thought there were too many others doing the same thing but better. But you just have to stop thinking like that and get to work!

  15. bbw services says:

    ofcourse, new enterpreneurs need to believe in themselves. and then combine their knowledge with their skills to excel in the filed. it take time to make your mark. be patient and wait for the right time. cheers!


  16. Deb Odierna-Lyman says:

    Pam, I just finished your book this afternoon and loved it…I read it like a novel(mostly to assist my husband with HIS business), however now I can go back and re-read it with notebook and pen to really get to the meat of it. I had such a laugh over your husband’s confusion with blog/blob I had tears in my eyes! Thank you for such an inspiring read.

  17. Janie Santoy says:

    For me, the easiest way to turn my attention to my clients is to think about them individually. It’s easy for me to lose touch when I think of “clients,” but it is much easier to focus on their needs when I focus on “Sue” or “Joe.” Their needs become more tangible because they are REAL.

  18. Perhaps you’re actually dealing with a few narcissists, Pam? Narcissists relate to other people as an extension of themselves. Their needs and concerns always come first, of course. Interesting post.

  19. faisal says:

    You need to worry about customers problems and solve them.

  20. Alicia Terry says:

    Thanks Pam. I needed that. I’ve been thinking and contemplating…contemplating and thinking. You’re right. It is time to get to work. It’s been time. Thanks again.

  21. Jonathan Feldman says:

    Pam, RIGHT ON! It is NEVER about you.

    I used to totally cave in salary negotiations because of the curse of not feeling good enough.

    Then, one day, I had a similar thought: it wasn’t about whether _I_ deserved the money. There were people at home who sure as heck did. It wasn’t about me.

    Business based on a spirit of service can only succeed. Well said!

  22. Darliss says:

    I love how you get right to the heart of the matter, Pam!

  23. Jeannette says:

    You are so right! Big love for you and this post, Pam!! πŸ™‚

  24. Inga Spouse says:

    Short and sweet and absolutely to the point.
    Brilliant post Pam! Love it!!

  25. Jo Anna says:

    I’ll be the first “yes, but…”..what if your business is products that no one needs, they are simply fun to have?

    • Pamela says:

      Good point Jo Anna. There are many successful businesses that sell products that one could argue no one truly “needs” – do you really need the latest iPhone? Premium lip gloss? Really delicious chocolate?

      Your job as a business owner is to provide something that will be perceived as great value in the eyes of the customer. If they can see no value, you have no business.

      My point of this post is that instead of agonizing about having it all together before you start, you just need to start, and pay exceptionally close attention to what your market wants and needs.

  26. Ali Davies says:

    Yes indeed – good enough is the new perfect!!!

  27. Silja says:

    Thanks Pam, for clearing my head right now. And good to know I am not alone when I sometimes get stuck in my head instead of just doing it already.

  28. Cheryl Dolan says:

    LOVE this! Same thing applies to presenting: it’s not about you at all. It’s all about your audience.

    “Your people don’t care. They want help now.

    So while they are sitting there gasping for breath, you are sitting in front of your mirror, wondering if your hair looks right.

    Get over it. Get to work.”

  29. Brian Shea says:

    Love this post, Pam. Good stuff flows from not knowing it’s about “you”:
    -less drama
    -more energy to focus on work
    -way more objectivity and perspective
    -a fighting chance at putting fear on the shelf and doing your best work (I say a fighting chance because overcoming fear and resistance is just plain hard, there’s no silver bullet there πŸ˜‰

    Awesome post. Thanks for this great thought moving in to the weekend!