While you are the greatest asset to your success, there are usually many, many others who have supported, guided, mentored, coached, taught, and also set you back as to where you are today
Read Time: 5 minutes
By: Heather Wentler
Did you know that during the last 65 days of our calendar year over 70 holidays are celebrated across the globe? These holidays are celebrated with festivals, ceremonies, and paying homage to beliefs, rituals, and people within our lives and shared history.
Often during this time of the year, we are called to spend time focusing on things we’re thankful for, appreciative of, or what’s gotten us to the current point we’re at on our life journey. While you are the greatest asset to your success, there are usually many, many others who have supported, guided, mentored, coached, taught, and also set you back as to where you are today. Giving shoutouts and making personal messages to these people shows deep respect and also shows support back to those individuals, groups, or organizations.
The Word of the Year
Merriam-Webster has said that “gaslighting” is the word of the year. You may be asking yourself, why are we bringing this up? Stick with me…
Gaslighting is defined as “the act or practice of grossly misleading someone, especially for one’s own advantage.” As entrepreneurs, we do this. We do it to others and we do it to ourselves. We’re told to go and sell our companies in ways that shows how we’re better than anyone or anything else, and usually through discrediting them.
I recently had a mentor after a pitch practice session message me saying “I’m just used to hearing pitches that say ‘the current tools for this suck and here is why mine is better!’” It’s built into our culture to gaslight so that we can succeed.
We also see this in a variety of other ways. People post on social media all the time with showing how they’re awesome and it’s usually at the expense of someone else’s reputation - sometimes explicitly and sometimes implicitly or through passive aggressiveness. You’ve probably done it, I’ll admit I’ve done it, we’re trained to do it because that’s how we get likes and clicks.
The media does a great job at this. I’ve had the experience personally multiple times where reporters have reached out to me asking for leads, quotes, data points, or use images without permission from Doyenne events but never give the nod as to the source in those articles.
It’s Not Me, It’s You
Moving past being gaslit - being able to trust that someone isn’t going to do it again, or constantly waiting for the next person to do it to you - somehow we all must do it in order to continue to thrive. I’m not saying don’t forget the experience, and you don’t have to forgive the gaslighter.
Finding strategies or techniques that will support you in not holding on to these experiences has been what helps me. When I’ve gone through these experiences I try to recall the Personally agreement of The Four Agreements. This agreement states “Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a result of their own dream or perception of their rules”. So…It’s not me, it’s you. When I choose not to internalize their rules or how they think things should be then they don’t have any power over me any longer and I can move on. This helps break the Am I crazy? thoughts in my head and also supports in taking back my confidence in my abilities, actions, and how I represent myself in the world.
How to Show True Appreciation
Showing appreciation doesn’t always have to be a public display. But, do know that everytime you take credit for something that others have supported you in and you don’t either offline or publicly give credit, people are usually remembering those experiences.
There are many people in this community who owe apologies or acts of gratitude rather than hugs or empty polite greetings when running into each other at public events because of past experiences.
How can we take steps to rectify or be better going forward?
Give the nod! Tag people or companies who have supported your success when making public statements
Send a note. It doesn’t have to be the personal handwritten thank you cards that our parents trained us to do while growing up, but say something
Show how you’re different than your competitors by highlighting your innovation without bringing others down
Do Better - Call yourself out when you know you’ve done wrong, make the apology (again, it doesn’t have to be public), and try to use the experience as a learning lesson rather than continue the behavior or dismiss that it ever happened
Small steps conquer mountains. You don’t need to do all of this at once, but start making small intentional acts that will turn into routines and practices that you implement all the time.
We’re all lifelong learners. Things that we’ve learned in the past don’t always apply to how the world works today. If we’re all truly on the path to creating entrepreneurial ecosystems where more than just a very small percentage of entrepreneurs succeed, we all need to make changes. We’re going to f* up along the way, that’s part of learning. Your stumble doesn’t mean you failed; learn from it, apologize when necessary, say thank you to those who helped you grow through the experience, and let's continue to move on together.
Every year it seems we get to this point of the year and we’re trying to settle things up, prepare for a little time away, or put our venture workload on pause to pick up another workload of holidays with family. We should also be saying our thank yous.
Doyenne Team - Julie, Hana, and Colleen - Thank you for working with me and all your talents and lessons you bring to Doyenne. You challenge me to try new things (Old Millenial TikTok) and support creating strategic initatives and decisions
Doyenne Program Contracting Partners - Marita, Amy, and Nicola - Thank you for continuing to show up and make space for the entrepreneurs who are part of Doyenne. And for your personal support you continue to give me as we work together
Doyenne Board Members - Jessica, Pooja, Jill, Sagashus, Alicia, and Allie - Thank you for your guidance and support this year. Each year brings new challenges and success for Doyenne. Thank you for being on the ride with me and providing the alternative way to think through things that I’m unable to do on my own to make sure we’re continuing to meet our mission and set ourselves apart from other organizations
Coaches, Workshop Facilitators, Mentors, and greater community - Your support of showing up, providing your expertise and advisement, and doing so while listening and adapting based on needs of the participants creates the change we’re working to see everywhere within entrepreneurial ecosystems
Doyenne Donors - It’s so cliche but your dollars really do make the difference! The majority of our programming continues to be free or lowest possible cost to entrepreneurs so they never have to choose between paying themselves or paying for professional development support AND continues to create opportunities for us to provide funding to those entrepreneurs
You, reader - Thank you for reading this! I look forward to continuing to provide my perspective in 2023 and talk with all of you soon too