After spending five years as a registered nurse, Cat Golden, noticed a toxic trend. Nurses rarely tell anyone that they’re stressed out or they’re not doing well. They see every shortened lunch break or skipped bathroom break as a badge of honor. But it was only when Cat broke down that façade and shared with her co-workers that, yes, she was depressed about having to work on Christmas and, yes, she was exhausted after a 12-hour shift, that she found her calling.
Cat started Nurses Inspire Nurses, a seven-figure business that helps nurses find the confidence they need to create their own balanced schedules, take a chance on their dreams and maintain consistent self-care.
When Cat tapped into what she thought was her biggest vulnerability and it turned out to be her biggest strength. Here’s how you can do the same.
1. Identify What It Is That You’re Not Saying
“Your brain doesn’t differentiate between physical and emotional harm. The instinct that stops you from putting your hand on a hot rack in your stove is the very same one that stops you from having a difficult conversation with a friend or starting a brand new business venture without any entrepreneurial experience,” says Golden. “Your brain is trying to keep you safe and protect you from potential emotional harm. It goes against your natural instinct to expose yourself because this makes you vulnerable and opens you up for rejection. Most of the time this is something that saves your life and serves you well. Other times it holds you back from your greatest breakthroughs. Think: saying what you truly feel and strengthening that relationship with your friend or finding the inspiration for a new business that becomes wildly successful.
“If there’s anything I’ve learned over the last couple of years in building my business it’s that if you’re feeling something, other people do too. It is just a question of who is going to be the brave one and say it? I have talked to countless other aspiring entrepreneurs through the years who uncovered feelings they wanted to share but the vulnerability was too great and they never did it. Don’t let this be you! Is it scary to go against nature and be exposed? Yes! Is it worth it? Yes!” notes Golden.
“When I finally recognized what I’d been holding back and opened up to my co-workers about how overwhelming our industry was, that’s when the answers came. I stopped depending on outside factors (better staffing, better schedules) to improve our situation and started doing something on my own to help us all. When you’re open and honest, there is no failure. Only feedback. But to get feedback, you must take this brave first step.”
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2. Use Your Unspoken Words To Create Connection
Imagine you wanted to start getting in shape and meeting other people who went to the gym, too. If you never verbalized your desire to work out and get fit, even before you had started or actually gained the courage to go to the gym, you would never connect with other people who had those same values.
“It is the exact same principle in business, reminds Golden. “Your people can’t find you until you take that brave first step. It is only when we open up and become transparent about who we really are that we allow others to connect with us. The foundation of the Nurses Inspire Nurses community is authentic connection and a culture of welcoming each nurse exactly as they are. In order to create that community of connection and authenticity, I first had to lead the way.
“At first, when you post your truth on social media or in blog posts, it is truly like talking to no one, a blank wall or an empty screen. There are no likes, followers, nothing. Your brain is going to want that hit of dopamine and will try to persuade you to do what everyone else is doing, what’s proven, or what you know will get a like or follow. Don’t do it, you’re smarter than that! The second you share what’s authentic to you, your people will come.”
3. Shift Your Focus To The People You Want To Serve
“What if your favorite musician doubted their abilities and never sang that song that just puts you in the best mood? What if your favorite actor never got over their stage fright and kept their talents hidden?” asks Golden. “It is not only you who would miss out but everyone else who gets value from those gifts too. When we refuse to get vulnerable and share our talents with the world, as uncomfortable as that is, it’s not only ourselves we hinder but everyone else who needs our message. It’s not about you, it’s about the people you want to serve.”
“This is probably the number one thing that has helped me keep going—from being divorced at twenty-eight with two hundred dollars to my name to working on myself and changing the course of my life, to creating a thriving community out of nothing it has all gone back to opening up and sharing my story and talents. This is scary, but necessary, to create a massive impact. If you can’t get over the fear for yourself, do it for the people that are waiting for your message.”