Saying F#!k You To Excuses

By Jenn Richardson

I continuously find myself asking, why do so many female coaches place emphasis on the most basic concepts of self help, confidence, goal setting, motivation, and the list goes on.

When I first began working at the Institute almost two years ago, I found myself excited to be in a position where I could empower women entrepreneurs. I was set on making it a priority to host women only workshops. In fact, one of my first workshops was in collaboration with Danielle Carruthers of thesedge.org, on brag pitching. And it worked! We had several women show up, nervously standing in a circle to brag about their accomplishments. Each and every woman, including myself, walked away feeling like we had accomplished something, stepped outside our comfort zone, and most importantly, we came together to do it.

As time went on, I of course planned workshops that were tailored to both male and females. Frustrated that women continuously failed to show up, I stopped the women only workshops and switch my focus to the individuals who self selected and knocked on my door.

Meanwhile in the background I was struggling with the very same issues that required me to set aside the "work hard aspects" of being successful. I needed to step up. It wasn't until I sat next to my friend and co-worker, Dustin Paisley, that I started to analyze his behaviours and patterns in comparison to mine. Dustin was in my eyes excelling, while I was simply treading water. I picked up the phone to call my best friend and accomplished social entrepreneur, Danielle Gibbie to chat. I began by telling her my frustrations. My lack of positive communication and failure to get my boss, Ray DePaul to say a simple "yes" or "well done", EVER! On the other hand, Dustin was kicking ass.

I began sharing with her my observations of Dustin. He and she are also very close friends and worked together as leaders in the past. He was a risk taker. Even at times when I wasn't sure he had time to do something, he always said yes! He wasn't afraid to pick up the phone. He wasn't afraid to stand up for his work. Quite simply, he had confidence.

This takes me back to the reason I continuously find myself asking, why are coaches for women constantly focused on the self help aspects of life, and not the tangible information, raising funds, share divison, cost structure, manufacturing, market-fit, etc.

It's because those basic self help concepts block any possibility of us ever getting to learn the next sets. Or at least they do for many right now.

Sitting next to Dustin gave me the confidence and motivation to keep trekking. Of course I will always stumble, but life without failure is a life without taking risks. Now many of you might be asking yourself, but Jenn, you said it yourself, it was the self help aspects holding you back. I think it's important to acknowledge the challenges, but then dive head first into this jungle gym we call life.

Two years in, I can confidently say that my boss now semi-frequently says, "well done", which is more than enough to keep my wheels turning. I find myself pushing my limits, putting my neck on the line, and occasionally kicking ass.

Do I know what the answer is to get more women to act entrepreneurial? Absolutely not. Am I tired of hearing that what holds us back is our basic genetic makeup, years of discrimination, and most distasteful, ourselves? Absolutely. Does that mean I am ready give up? Not at all.

I hope one day I will be able to come back and write to you a blog, or perhaps a book, on how I inspired even a few local Calgarian women to say fuck you to those excuses and step up, but in the meantime, join me in reading Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, so together we can begin to learn our next steps.

Who is Sheryl Sandberg? Sheryl Sandberg was the Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations at Google, and went on the become the Chief Operating Officer at Facebook and the first female board member. She's a kick-ass women making waves in the entrepreneurship and business community while shedding light on gender inequality and the unfortunate challenges women face daily while pursuing their careers and passions.

Hear more from Jenn on the Liberated Women Podcast