Why We Need to Tell Different Stories As Entrepreneurs

Nikki Jeff

Last week, I told two of my business BFFs, Amy and Patsy, that I was going away on another trip.

Except… I felt weirdly guilty about it.

Often when I’m away, I’ll throw up some social media photos and videos — I’m a big fan of Instagram Stories — without thinking too much about it, and get back to enjoying the moment.

But someone had emailed me a few days prior and noted that I had “been on a lot of trips lately” and the way it was phrased gave me pause.

Because here’s the thing: I never want to portray myself as having it all together. And I never want to make you think that I’m in the Bahamas right now because I’m trying to make myself out to be something — or someone — I’m not.

I’m here because my amazing, incredible boyfriend, Jeff (yes, he is reading this) invited me to attend a conference with him. He always figures I “have laptop, can travel” and — for the most part — it’s true.

But what you don’t see on Instagram Stories is the often paralyzing anxiety I experience before every trip as I try and tie up as many loose ends as possible and figure out how I can make my fading laptop battery last the entire flight.

What you don’t see is me on the verge of tears on the plane ride home, because the stress of running my own business often makes me want to forget the whole thing and go back to working for someone else.

What you don’t see is the real reason I’m heading down to the Big Apple for the third time in as many months, which is because I understand how important face-to-face connection is, and I want to ensure my client Jennifer feels as supported by me as possible. Because she’s doing big, big things. And her work matters (now, more than ever).

Amy’s advice?

“I’d tell people the truth. Tell them you have your laptop with you, and it’s a working vacation. Tell them you’re headed to New York because your clients are so important to you that you’ll happily travel four hours to meet with them.”

She’s smart, that one. 😉

I’m telling you this because I think, as business owners, that we have a responsibility. And while yes, we should feel free to share our moments and our memories, we need to be careful that we’re not feeding the myth that there’s a point in the entrepreneurial journey when everything’s worry-free and perfect.

Natalie MacNeil feels the same way.

She might be an Emmy Award-winning media entrepreneur, author of She Takes on the World and The Conquer Kit, and the Creator of SheTakesOnTheWorld.comone of the top sites on the planet for entrepreneurial women — but she told me when we spoke last week that she never wants to leverage a rags-to-riches “Get Rich Quick” type of story to get people to pay attention to her.

Yes, she’s successful. Yes, she’s someone so many entrepreneurs — women, especially — look up to as a role model. But like me, she sees the danger in those type of stories.

Even with my 100 Stories Worth Telling project, I see the danger.

Because the point of those stories is to show that you, too, can overcome adversity. You, too, can use resilience to power you through. You, too, can push on and push through to the next level.

But once you’re there, something a lot of people don’t like to talk about is the fact that it will still be hard. And there will still be challenges you need to overcome.

Your story doesn’t end where you think it will.

Your story is ever-evolving, ever-unfolding.

It’s our job — however hard it might feel, some days — to hang on tight, and to have faith that we’ll make it through.


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