I never set out to start a company.
A few years back, I felt a shift was coming in my career. I decided I couldn’t keep on doing what I was doing, so I entered a period of discovery that involved coaching.
The exploration actually led me to professional coaching and Human Resources (HR) as a profession, and I was blessed with opportunities to work in both areas. Now I’m a certified coach and an HR leader at our company.
Which led me to an idea. It was just an idea, remember I never set out to start a company.
Seeing how helpful coaching can be, I wondered what if professional coaching became accessible and affordable to anyone who wanted it?
Just like graphic design services became available through Fiverr and any product you can dream of buying became available through Amazon, what if professional coaching became available through an online marketplace?
Not just a directory, there are lots of directories, I’m talking about an online marketplace that shows user reviews, allows you to compare and negotiate prices, has built-in video, accepts gift cards, matches clients with coaches automatically, and so forth. Yes, a coach marketplace.
That was the idea. It’s one thing to have an idea, it’s another to start a company. I never set out to start a company, but that’s where the idea led me.
Now we’re standing at the edge and we’re about to take the plunge. The coach marketplace has been built and next week we’ll start inviting coaches to join it. The hope is that people from all over will connect with a coach, and all sorts of grand possibilities will begin.
Through our company, we want to help you love your life and work.
This has been an unexpected journey, and I’ve learned a lot. In some ways it feels like the end, but it’s really just the beginning.
One of the things I realized along the way was that I was treating myself pass/fail. I was constantly aware of how I was missing the mark, always wondering what I was forgetting to do. I kept telling myself, “You’re not a starter, you don’t have what it takes to run a company.” I judged myself harsher than I would judge anyone else.
But here’s what it came down to—I was afraid to fail. Because I was afraid to fail, I refused to own the fact that I was starting a company. It’s easy to abandon an idea if it fails—you just move on to the next one. It’s pretty safe, too. An idea isn’t about to hurt you.
But starting a company is another story. You go wide with a company. You create systems in a company. You believe in your company. You stake your reputation on your company. If your company fails, everybody knows it. A company can hurt you.
But pass/fail is a hard way to live because it doesn’t leave room for grace. I think a better way to treat ourselves is grace and grow. Probably most of us need to treat ourselves with more grace and more grow and less by pass/fail. Life is hard, why be so hard on ourselves?
Here’s the reality—in our company, things will go wrong. The technology may break, the process may not be optimal, the messaging may be off, and maybe some people will not be interested in an online coach marketplace.
Pass/fail says that’s not okay.
Grace and grow says it is.
It is often easier to be harsh with oneself than to be gentle. But the latter is the better way to treat ourselves.
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