For my fellow empath entrepreneurs...

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I am an empath. I describe myself as a deep feeler; I am sensitive and couldn’t grow “thicker skin” if I tried (and I have tried). As a business owner, being sensitive hasn’t always worked in my favor. I thought it was just me, that I would either have to "play the game" or not be successful.

I've always been intuitive and tapped into things I can't see but know to be true. When I walk around in the world, I don't just see the world, I feel it. I feel all of it. Sometimes I can't tell which is mine and which is not mine because it just all melts together. One big emotional soup.

To feel the world isn't always easy or convenient, but it's a gift.

Here’s the thing -- despite its best efforts, the “best” biz advice today does not work for empaths. I was told time and time again to “not take things so personally,” that it was “only money” and that if I didn’t “leverage” myself I would fail.

Advice like this didn’t help me succeed; it helped me shove my innate gifts in a box and close my heart. It turned clients into transactions and business planning into an end game. Then, every single time ONE thing would happen...I would get sick.

As an empath there’s no question in my mind that I am built to serve others. And I had to figure out how without losing myself to the biz world.

The business world can be fiery, pushy, and sometimes overly inflated with some impressive egos. For a sensitive person trying to succeed in business, this usually goes one of two ways.

Option 1 - We get toppled, exhausted, or burnt out trying to be more like what we think makes someone successful.

Option 2 - We hide our gifts and concede that in order to be "OK" we can't be wildly successful.

I know both options intimately because I attempted both. I don't actually know the moment I chose to buck conventional business advice in honor of my empathic gifts, but I do know it was the most sensational thing I have ever done for myself.

Maybe it was the moment I threw caution to the wind in an enrollment conversation and was simply loving and honest...and the client signed up.

Maybe it was the moment my intuition told me to create a year-long certification program and no one believed it would be successful. But I did it anyway. And it filled.

Maybe it was the moment a man was elected president who rejects most of what I as a woman stand for...

Maybe the actual moment isn't important; maybe it's just that I had one. And from that moment on, I let my gifts guide me.

It infused my work with new ideas.
It kept my feet on the ground.
I stopped feeling so swept away by comparison or fear.
I stopped acting like my gifts were the thing keeping me from success and realized they were the thing missing.

Here's what I know now FROM the perspective of my gifts as an empath:

Sales conversations are one of the most intimate gifts you can give your client. For most empaths, sales are draining because you aren't just tuned into that single potential client or customer. You are tuned into every one who has ever been sold to and had a poor or traumatizing experience.

I think we have a responsibility to help bring sales back into the light by demonstrating that this conversation is a big deal and intensely intimate. This is THE moment to hold your client's hand, to slow down, and be with what they need and sometimes that isn't hiring you.

Our job is to stand totally still so that no matter what they go through, they know you aren't on the opposite side of the table there to negotiate with them. I guarantee they are scared and excited, nervous and worried, but they are also anticipating new possibilities and about to trust you with that journey. This is a big frickin' deal.

And should they choose to NOT hire you, let them walk away from the experience feeling lifted, expanded, and congruent with their decision. Ths is how we bring sales back into the light.

Marketing is mostly an exchange of energy. In 2017, I created the People First Project: a gift of service from me to my community. In total I gifted 60 coaching conversations between August and December and filled two coaching programs as a result. The project filled in less than 10 hours the first time and less than 24 hours the second time. Why? Why did this work?

DId it work because I gave away free stuff? Maybe. But I know others who have launched something similar but didn't have the same response. As I tried to demonstrate and teach, this project was successful because of the energy I infused it with. Yes, energy.

This project was born from pure conviction for serving and returning to something I had moved too far from. When I wrote the invitation to this project, people read words but they were also tapping into ME and what I infused that invitation with. I put my heart on my sleeve and was 100% honest about where I had been, what I had been struggling with, and what I was choosing to do about it. It worked because I wasn't BSing people and they knew this. You can read the original post about the project here.

Client attraction is about vulnerability and radical honesty. See above ;) OK, there's a little more to it than this. Clients don't care about your program, your details, the fancy logistics...you know what they care about? YOU. They care that you are legit, integral, available, and above all else human.

As an empath you are perfectly poised for this. You can't not share your humanity. But you need to stop hiding it away in exchange for "better" copywriting, perfectly scripted sales pages, and taglines. Mostly because trying to shove yourself in these boxes feels SO out of place for us that our potential clients can feel this - and when they do, they won't come near.

Money is a greater symptom of what you focus your whole self on. Empaths and intuitives tend to believe they will be rewarded financially for doing the right thing or for being a good person. I WISH it worked this way, but I am sorry to say it doesn't.

Money is neutral and does not have a moral compass. Think about this - how many people with money have done some pretty corrupt things only to end up with more money? Since money doesn't have a moral compass, how do we make money? With our focus. With what you obsess about. And with what, above all else, you stand behind and don't waver from. Money flows where your attention goes...consistently.

I believe the business world needs us, bad. And that means we may have to change their game. We belong at this table but no one is going to invite you to take a seat. Roll your sleeves up, lay your heart on the table, and let your empathy be your greatest guide.

Andrea Wilborn