The Thing About Balls… Plus 3 Steps to Growing a Pair
“Love thy haters. For without them, people would talk about your ideas a lot less.” — Tara Stiles
A few years ago, when I decided to leave a very successful business I ran for seven years to launch The SimplyBe Agency, I received an overwhelming amount of love, kudos and congrats. But none of the feedback I received struck me as much as one particular phone call did.
Of all people, my best friend’s husband and fellow entrepreneur called me the day after my announcement to congratulate me. I had missed his call to find a two-minute long message on my voicemail. He mentioned how we was surprised to see the news, complimented my new website and asked for a coffee date.
He ended his message by saying:
“And girl, you’ve got balls.”
Here’s a dirty little secret.
I feel insecure and afraid every single day.
To some degree, I think most people do. Life is full of unknowns, especially if you’re an entrepreneur. To launch a business, leave a business, start something brand new, to pivot an existing model, to change, to leap… it requires an immense amount of courage, a ton of blind faith and a small degree of insanity. There is nothing more vulnerable and terrifying than putting yourself, your vision, your passions, your dreams and thus your personal brand out in the world. The potential for criticism, rejection or failure constantly looms, and it’s easy to get caught up in the chatter, whether real or imagined.
Here’s another little secret: Overcoming that insecurity never gets easier. I constantly struggle with overcoming it on a daily basis.
But the good news is this: That fear is a gift.
Fear fuels you. It empowers you. It moves you. It demands you to be braver, more confident, to work harder, to dig deeper, to learn faster, to humble yourself and to faithfully believe in your dreams no matter what.
When I got that fateful message from my best friend’s husband, it was the first time I had let someone else’s acknowledgment of my apparent “courage” soak in. It stopped me dead in my tracks. I was able to say to myself, “Yeah… I guess I really do have balls.” It also got me thinking. As I mentioned, I feel a quiet panic behind every big step I take, so how do I move forward despite it all?
I had to break this down.
And so, I have put together three soulful and pragmatic tips that have truly helped me along my fear-laden journey. I encourage you to dabble with these ideas, so that you can find your balls, step into your truth and shine.
1. #SimplyBe the light.
Light attracts light, and light is just a synonym for positive energy. When you infuse love, kindness and sincerity into everything you do, every piece of content you put out there, every social mention you post, every meeting you take, every interaction you have with another human being, you become a magnet for magic.
So let’s unpack this, shall we?
“Simply being the light” sounds really great in theory, but it’s actually a lot easier said than done. To make a positive way-of-being your baseline, you’ve got to do the work. It’s crucial to be super conscious of the words you say about others (gossip is gross), how you treat people (from your barista when you’re pre-coffee crabby, to your co-workers even if they bug you, to the stranger on the bus who’s talking too loud), and most importantly, how you treat yourself. Take stock of where you could shine a little more light, and then make it a practice. Start small. Focus on one area of your life that could use less gloom and more sparkle. The more and more you choose to shine, (because it is a choice), the more “being the light” becomes automatic and effortless. Consider your light your armor, and positive energy repels negative energy. That’s a fact. The more you radiate, the more you protect yourself against the dark.
2. Stop caring what other people think.
What other people think of you is none of your business. Let me say that one more time. What other people think of you is none of your business. Your only business is to take care of you, your priorities, your business, your schedule, your health, your friends, your family, your dog, your car, your home, your life (wow, you’re busy!). Your time is precious and it shouldn’t be wasted on other people who (sadly) make it their business to judge. The more you “do you” and immerse yourself in all the exciting and abundant things you’re creating for yourself, the less space the naysayers will have.
And when they do sneak in… send them love and light. I know that sounds like a load of horse crap, but it’s not and here’s why.
You have to mean it.
You have to dig deep down inside your own beautiful heart to muster up some compassion for the haters. They are people too after all, and everyone struggles with their own pains and insecurities. It’s just unfortunate that you became their whipping post. I promise if you take a second to genuinely send them a small bit of your light, it will make you feel better. And lastly, try to remember what Mahatma Gandhi once said: “I will not let anyone walk around my mind with their dirty feet.” The most poignant part in this quote are the words “my mind.” No one can get inside your head unless you put them there.
3. Surround yourself with your tribe.
I recently read an article by Danielle LaPorte titled, “We Need Each Other to Shine.” In it, she speaks to the science of stars and that most stars we see in the sky are binary, or in pairs of two, which is how and why they can shine so bright. When stars separate, their shine begins to dim until eventually they fade away completely.
I firmly believe when faced with fear, we need a pack of stars. These stars, A.K.A. your tribe, will make you feel safe and protected in expressing your true self. They will also challenge you to be the best of version of you. They will be able lift you up during your darkest of days without judgement, and celebrate your highest of highs. They should also be able to bring you back down to earth when your highs have gotten to your head.
A tribe can identify the unique gifts that you would have never articulated yourself, and at the same time call you out when you’re being inauthentic. Think of it this way: If your own light is your armor, your tribe is your sword and shield. And that is the best kind of “balls” an entrepreneur could ever ask for.