- Finding your unique leadership style takes time to perfect.
- We have very little control over very few things. The sooner we can give up our desire for control, the better we will be.
- Own the feeling of being an imposter; it might mean you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.
The sooner you can admit what’s swimming beneath the surface, the sooner you can improve your life. This is not an easy task.
Getting real with yourself requires you to figure out what is lurking beneath the surface. For me, I realized I was conflict avoidant. I hated conflict, so I avoided it.
In the early days of Drybar, I would vent to my brother and let the resentment roll. You know what I’m talking about, right? You get frustrated at a team member, but you don’t face it directly. Instead, you make passive-aggressive, snarky remarks about the situation or avoid dealing with that person and hold a grudge.
I realized this behavior was an attempt to gain control. As most of us know, we have very little control over very few things. The sooner we can give up our desire for control, the much better we will be. By the time I finally dealt with a lot of these situations, the damage was already done.
I was also guilty of wanting people to come to me to fix a problem and not the other way around. It’s like when you’re five and get into a fight with your sibling, and neither one of you wants to admit any wrongdoing.
What I now realize is that I sorely needed vulnerability. I missed this a lot back then (hell, I still miss it a lot now). But it’s an important lesson and reminder nonetheless.
If there is internal conflict (at work, home, in the bedroom, etc.), chances are it’s rubbing off on your entire orbit. It takes a lot of courage to jump in and deal with it. My best advice on the other side? Rip off the Band-Aid and get in there and see what happens.
You might be pleasantly surprised.
Own who you are instead of pretending to be someone else. This is a tough one (catching a theme here?).
As an entrepreneur, you will be faced with tons of challenges and decision-making like never before. While I certainly believe in learning from those we admire, it’s important — in fact, essential — to work toward becoming the absolute best version of you.
Finding your unique leadership style takes time to perfect. (Who am I kidding? It’s never going to be perfect, but you can damn sure try!) It’s a lot of trial and error. I used to lose my shit pretty easily when I walked into a Drybar shop, and it felt like major sensory overload. All I noticed was what was wrong — so much so that I often missed what was right. And while I strongly believe someone has to have a discerning eye, I had to learn a better, more productive way of giving feedback.
I’m a pretty reactive person by nature, so it’s hard for me not to wear my emotions proudly on my sleeve for everyone to see. But I learned over time, and during a lot of heartfelt conversations with my brother and John Hefner (Drybar CEO at the time), that I was doing more harm than good by essentially throwing a fit and making everyone uncomfortable.
I think a little discomfort is a good thing, but finding a balance is key. Over time, had my negative behavior continued, it would have been really detrimental to the business.
So what’s the answer here? Be true to your best self; be honest with what’s going on for you and what you want, and fit that into the version of yourself that brings out the best in others. Pursue feedback and have enough self-awareness to grow into a really kick-ass leader.
If you feel like an imposter, embrace it!
FOMO is real, y’all. We all experience it. There’s always going to be someone doing something or being someone you aspire to be. Always. So use that as motivation to work harder, shake things up, and begin creating the very thing you were envious of in the first place.
And while we are on the subject of comparing ourselves to others, let’s talk about a term that gets a lot of attention: imposter syndrome, which is a fancy way of saying, “I feel insecure.” It’s like comparing our inside world to what we think we should be feeling like and looking like to others. Huh?
While imposter syndrome is often touted as something negative, it’s quite positive if you really think about it. As leaders, we are taking risks daily and constantly stepping into roles we have not ventured into before.
So yes, when I decided to start and run my own company, I felt like a total imposter. Know why? Because I was! I was stepping into a role that was new to me. With a leap like that comes a lot of experimentation plus loads of new responsibilities, which means tons of opportunities to fall flat on our faces and look silly or stupid or like we don’t know what we’re doing. So what? Being an entrepreneur is all about risk: putting yourself out there, taking chances, and figuring out how to make it all work. Trust me, it takes time and patience, so cut yourself some slack and have fun with it.
The moral of the story here is this: go f***ing embrace the feeling of being an imposter! It might mean you’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.