Common Traits of Entrepreneurial Women Who Are Operating on Autopilot
Through her work with entrepreneurial women, Susan has identified six common traits among women entrepreneurs and women leaders in entrepreneurial roles. These traits are more common than they need to be because most entrepreneurial women are not practicing what Susan calls “conscious entrepreneuring” but are instead operating on autopilot.
The six common traits of entrepreneurial women operating on autopilot include:
- They feel isolated and miss the creative energy that comes from collaborating with others
- They operate on overdrive and have difficulty sustaining the pace
- They feel that their work is not in authentic alignment with who they are at their core
- They possess limiting beliefs that get in the way of claiming their creative genius
- They perceive a gap in their own business or technical skillset which erodes their confidence
- They lack a personal definition of success and so they measure accomplishments by others’ standards
While working in an entrepreneurial role can be exhilarating, liberating and rewarding, the day-to-day experience can be a bit isolating. The responsibility for developing ideas, vision, strategies and plans and ensuring successful implementation falls squarely on the shoulders of the entrepreneurial woman. It can be challenging to do all that in a vacuum without others to bounce ideas off of or without being able to engage in collaborative thinking and co-creative visioning. Many entrepreneurial women try to fill that collaborative void by turning to their friends or family members for support, only to discover that the other person may have a hidden agenda, provide a lot of “shoulds,” or not be fully committed to encouraging the entrepreneur to grow or make changes.
Operate on Overdrive
Women who are entrepreneurs and leaders in entrepreneurial roles are typically quite driven to achieve. While their drive can be an asset it can quickly morph into overdrive which can be detrimental when left unchecked. The entrepreneurial woman’s overdrive is frequently linked to their relentless pursuit of perfectionism and a belief that they need to do it all. The overdriven entrepreneur can become her own worst critic and forget to apply the magic elixir of compassion to herself. Chronic overdrive leads to overwhelm, overload and overcommitment and is a recipe for burnout. There is no way to sustain an overdrive approach to entrepreneuring. The “self” role suffers as personal energy is drained and that in turn has a cascading negative effect on all other roles.
Lack Authentic Alignment
Many women who have selected the entrepreneurial path don’t feel like they are showing up authentically or bringing their whole self to their work. There are often 3 reasons for this:
- They are “cursed by competency” and as a result, they align their work more with their competencies (including the energy draining ones) rather than with their passions.
- They are motivated by a scarcity mentality that has them saying “yes” to everything including those opportunities, projects and people that drain their energy.
- They “should on themselves” by doing the things they think they “should do” or that others tell them they “should do” instead of choosing to do things they are passionate about and that give them energy.
Possess Limiting Beliefs
Entrepreneurial women can possess limiting beliefs about their own capabilities and greatness. They can resist claiming their creative genius or lack the confidence to be seen. Their self-imposed, limiting beliefs can stiffle their creativity and eat away at their motivation and sense of empowerment. Limiting beliefs can cause the entrepreneurial woman to hold back from opportunities to be creative or to be seen. Overtime, limiting beliefs can erode a woman’s confidence in her own abilities and in her capacity to trust her inner wisdom. These limiting beliefs can keep them from shining brightly and authentically sharing their gifts and talents with the world.
Perceive A Gap in Own Skills
Many entrepreneurial women perceive a gap in their own business or technical skillset. It is common for entrepreneurial women to feel they are lacking in marketing, branding or business development skills. Outside of the tech industry, it can also be common for entrepreneuring women to feel that they lack technological savviness and confidence. “Accidental Entrepreneurs” who suddenly find themselves launching into entrepreneurial endeavours are particularly vulnerable to perceiving a gap in their business and technological skills. Many entrepreneurial women may possess basic business, marketing or technical skills but don’t feel empowered or confident in their own abilities. They may be carrying outdated definitions of or unrealistic assessments of what it means to be creative, technologically savvy or a strategic marketer.
Lack a Personal Definition for Success
Most entrepreneurial women measure their own success using others’ definitions of success. They may adhere to a belief in a one-size-fits-all definition of success that does not address their individuality, motivations and values. They can fixate on the achievement of material success and possessions instead of compassionately evaluating and reflecting upon their personal contribution. They can launch into action without a clear articulation of their own intentions and vision. This makes it difficult for them to measure let alone acknowledge their successes. As a result, entrepreneurial women may judge their own accomplishments quite harshly.