Make Your Voice Heard
What It Takes to Be an Orgasmic Leader
How to break through barriers and believe in yourself when it seems no one else does
Building a business is hard – so many entrepreneurs I work with and speak to experience the triumphs, tribulations, travesties of turning their vision into realities. Often the challenges faced are even bigger and longer for female entrepreneurs — for many of the reasons we have heard so many times – access to funding, support, networks. And then just imagine the extra layers of restrictions, additional barriers, and hoops to jump through when trying to build businesses that provide products and services for women’s sexual and reproductive health.
You don’t have to like these extra barriers and double-standards, but to succeed, you’ll have to acknowledge them and find ways to circumvent them — and be prepared ahead of time for the extra distance that may be added to the journey. And the people who do this, myself included, I call Orgasmic Leaders: the barrier breakers and brave vagipreneurs — those in the business of female sexual health — going over, through, and around any obstacle necessary to create businesses.
So, how can you tell if you are an Orgasmic Leader? What do you need to do if you want to exhibit Orgasmic Leadership in the business of sexual health or any other endeavor?
Don’t Give Up After the First Few Tries
Never, ever, ever take “No” for an answer. You may hear “No” a dozen times. You may hear it a hundred. But somewhere out there is your “Yes,” and if you stop before you get there, somebody else will hear it — not you. Many of the vagipreneurs I have worked with describe doors slamming (both literally and proverbially) in their faces — until they finally met the right funder/partner/savior who “got it,” who took a chance on them and their businesses.
Focus on Your Needs
Somebody has to be first to market. It may as well be you. Somebody has to break through the front lines of inertia, inaction, and insufficiency. Today, in an increasingly paperless world, we can hardly imagine what life was like without computers and smart devices, before they existed. Today, you could probably convince some people to give up one of their lungs before they’d hand over their smartphone even for a few days. I don’t think Mrs. Lieb, my eighth-grade typing teacher, could ever have imagined a world in which we didn’t have to use filmy white correction tape and backspaces to eliminate mistakes. Do you have any recollection of life before your cell phone, when you could only be reached at your desk or at home, or when you sometimes got a busy signal if the person you wanted to call was already using the landline? Can you remember exactly when you first saw something labeled “gluten-free” on a grocery store shelf? A few years ago, nobody thought driverless vehicles would amount to much, and now we’re talking about when, not if¸ they will arrive on our nation’s highways carrying freight and passengers. Make sure your needs – I mean the needs of your business – are first and foremost.
Learn From Watching Others
It’s not only OK to ask for help from people who have fought the same battles — it’s a best practice. You can preserve sanity, time, and precious resources if you can turn to others in your network or industry as a business brain trust. Find leaders or advisors in other industries who faced years of pushback before they made progress against older, prevailing ways of doing things against strong headwinds.
Keep Your Eyes on the Prize
No matter what challenges you face, never, ever lose your sense of humor or sense of perspective. Don’t let the you-know-whats get you down. I often think of several famous lines from one of my all-time favorite movies, “Airplane.” As events start to go terribly wrong and it appears a plane crash is imminent, the chief air traffic controller, masterfully played by Lloyd Bridges, says, “Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop smoking.”And he lights up. At the next crisis point, he says, “Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop drinking.” Commence the pour. Finally, “Looks like I picked the wrong week to stop sniffing glue.” Many were the days when that sentiment described how I felt during my own journey, and tapping into humor kept me from becoming totally discouraged.
Don’t Focus on the Bumps in the Road…Focus on Your Big Finish
You will hear inappropriate observations. You will hear disparaging and discouraging feedback. You will find yourself in meetings that only the Harvey Weinsteins of the world would feel comfortable in. You might find yourself on the receiving end of demeaning, sometimes even insulting remarks about you, your product, and the future prospects for your business. You may even be attacked by online trolls about you or your business. When that happens (and it will happen), you will need to dig deep and find your own coping mechanism. Some people enjoy humorous books, comics, and essays; others may have favorite go-to, laugh-out-loud, stand-up comedians they can turn to in times of stress; yet others may be able to rely on a solid lineup of bookmarked websites or a streaming queue full of reliable programs. For me, when I’m experiencing a momentary aggravation that I know I can’t respond to in kind, I think of my favorite funny scenes and quotes from classic slapstick movies (“Wedding Crashers,” “The Hangover,” “Animal House,” whatever). It does help, in my case, that I literally can laugh at the same scenes endlessly. Regardless of your own coping strategy, you must have one — to get through the journey in one piece, to keep you grounded and to keep you smiling through the pain and pleasures of forging a new path through this unexplored forest of opportunities.
Business is challenging, but you can do it. Being an orgasmic leader means finding your sweet spot so that you can hit the heights of business satisfaction.
Rachel Braun Scherl is a CoveyClub member, Business Builder, Marketing Strategist, Vagipreneur, and author of Orgasmic Leadership: Profiting from the Coming Surge in Women’s Sexual Health and Wellness (May 2018)
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