Our perceptions can lead us astray. I’ll give you an example of this here. Have you ever bought or received as a gift a shirt or other item that is labeled as “one size”? Sometimes they say “one size fits all” or “one size fits most” but that isn’t true. It’s based on the assumption or perception that 99% of people are in a certain range of body sizes. The same held true in the classroom, where I was directed to “teach to the middle” and not modify my lessons for those above or below grade level. As an online entrepreneur one size will never fit all because you are a unique individual who has traveled your own path to be where you are today.
Years ago I was shopping and got into a conversation with a lady who recognized me as a teacher at her children’s school. She said she was going to get her teaching credential so she could go to work each day with her kids, have them close to her each day, and have weekends to spend with her family. When I told her told she would need to be at work almost an hour before school started, she would most likely be assigned to a different school as her children, and that much of the work needed to be completed evenings and weekends her smile turned upside down. Her perception of a teaching job and the reality were very different.
The same is true of online entrepreneurship. Most of us thought we could work a few hours here and there, not show up for days or weeks, and then send one email where people would buy everything we recommended. That doesn’t work. I describe this as the toughest job you’ll ever have and that you must be the toughest boss you can remember. The reason I and so many others earn so much income is because we are among the 5% who follow through and take our businesses seriously, day in and day out. My goal and intention is to teach you as much as possible, recommend people and products that will make a difference for you, and to inspire and motivate you into action.
How Are You Perceived in the World?
Let’s begin by discussing how we are perceived by others. I used to care what others thought about me until I learned that what they thought had nothing to do with me. Then I shifted my beliefs 180 degrees and did not care what anyone thought but me. As I have matured as a human and entrepreneur I now understand that it is 100% up to me to help shape the perceptions of others I encounter, both online and in person. We do this with our words, both written and spoken; our actions; and also our thoughts. What we project is interpreted by the universe and scattered throughout cyberspace. This is a concept I’ll be developing more fully in a blog post, as well as in an upcoming podcast. I would love to know your thoughts around this.
Let’s continue our discussion on how we are perceived by others and how we can help people to perceive us in a good light. Storytelling gets the conversation going and you will notice that I share many stories with you on a regular basis. Choose a story that makes sense to your readers, makes a point, and is based in truth. Here’s a story I will use as an example…
This evening I have been invited to the local park to spend time with twenty or so people I volunteer with in my community. We haven’t see each other in months, save for the times we have been at the same location as volunteers and gave each other virtual hugs and high fives. Tonight we are to bring our dinner and a blanket for a picnic in the park. My dilemmas (yes, I have more than one) are that I’m practicing intermittent fasting and have already closed my feasting window for today, I’m uncomfortable being out in nature where I will have less control over who/how someone may approach me, and I feel that spending a couple of hours with these people may wear me out.
My solution? I’m going anyway. I have a new water bottle so I’ll feel like I am consuming something. I only associate with wonderful people, so I do not anticipate anyone making me feel uncomfortable. This shift in my perceptions and expectations will serve me well, I believe. I took a 45 minute nap so nothing and no one can wear me out this evening!
I’m an introvert and a problem solver and am perceived in this way by the people who know me, online and off. Missing opportunities for fun and to build relationships are not in my realm of thinking. I can also work almost anything into a conversation so this evening I will tell them about the book on creating an income stream with speaking I am co-authoring with Ellen Finkelstein that will be published in the early fall.
See how this works and how it gets more interesting?
Perceptions Lead to Expectations
This week I was a part of a Mastermind and I shared a story with them that I will share with you as well. It was told to me by a psychologist I had visited when things weren’t going very well at the school where I was teaching…
A man is sitting on his porch along a dirt road in the middle of nowhere. He’s in his rocking chair and watches as a car pulls up and comes to a stop. The people in the car ask him about the town up ahead in the distance.
“We’re from the city and we are looking for a new place to live. We’re thinking of settling down in that city up ahead. What kind of people are there, and will there be opportunities for me and my family?
The man on the porch stops rocking and asks them,
“What kind of people and opportunities do you think there might be up ahead?”
“We think the people won’t be very nice and the opportunities will not be worthwhile. We heard that they don’t take to newcomers and might make it difficult for us to settle in.”
“That’s exactly the kind of place it is.”
They thank him and turn around to go back the way they came. The man begins rocking in his chair again.
An hour later another car pulls up, stops in front of the house and the people ask him a similar question. He again answers with his question to them about what kind of place do they think the town will be and what might they be expecting. This time the answer is very different…
“We think the people in that town are kind and friendly and want to help out someone new. We believe there will be greater opportunities than we can imagine right now. And we’re just positive we will have a greater life and more prosperity than would be possible in any other place in the world.”
The man answers them that yes, that’s exactly what kind of town that is, and he wishes them well as they speed ahead to their chosen destination.
The point of this story is that your perceptions and expectations lead to actions that determine what you will experience and the results you will achieve.
While I was teaching in the classroom my perception was that I had come as far as I could in my life in terms of creating a more satisfying life and earning more income. It wasn’t until the conditions became even less in my favor and I yearned for a new life that I was willing to step out of my comfort zone and see what else life may have to offer me.
Admitting I had been incorrect for two decades was not as difficult as wondering what else I had missed out on by remaining stuck in a rut and not being willing to fail on my way to a new life. Fortunately, I connected with the most amazing people during my first year online and I am now living a life I could not have imagined at an earlier time. My perceptions and expectations have led me to a new life and I couldn’t be happier.
I’m author, publisher, and entrepreneur Connie Ragen Green and my goal is to connect with you if you have more than just a passing interest in getting started with an online business. I just released Really Simple SEO Tips and Keywords for Beginners and this is an excellent place to begin. Please take a look while it’s still at its introductory pricing.