Trying New Things and Female Entrepreneur Guilt

People often say that it’s important to Try New Things. In the spirit of “why not”, I’m manfully working my way through the expansion of my musical boundaries: Icelandic music. (Thanks a lot, Buzzfeed.) 


The only really big problem with Trying New Things is that ….well…..they’re new. They take time to work through and time to learn, and we keep hearing that this is the most prized and most wasted commodity in business. You can’t take it back once you’ve spent it, there’s no Time ROI. So, when you’re Trying New Things, there’s risk of loss. That’s uncomfortable. 

I got really excited by seeing a title for an Icelandic song from Plastik Joy, “Sleepy Quest for Coffee”. So great! The conflict between your sleepy state, which coffee is going to fix, and your alternate desire to work and not work. Ah, the dilemma. Only, the song is probably designed to make me want to take a nap. (That’s a continual battle in any case. Like any parent with a beloved but exasperating child, I’d like my small business to serve ME for once. My birthday present from my business would be no different from what I hear parents saying they want from their kids: a chance to sleep in.) 

It seems that new things never stop. As a business owner, especially if you’re a female entrepreneur, there’s that added guilt feeling of “I should want to engage with new things.” This is on top of those other guilt feelings: I need to be the best mom ever, I need to run my business like a polished pro, I need to never show up to a meeting with a potential client sporting coffee stains on my shirt.

So far on the new music journey, I’m finding that (a) I really hate techno [FM Belfast, Sykur, and some For a Minor Reflection], (b) I really like peaceful music with guitars and non-clashing rhythmic drums [Seabear, Olafur Arnalds, and Borko]. I’m not sure what instruments are being played that I don’t recognize, but I’ve already used up my Trying New Things mental credits and really won’t take the time to find out. There are only so many hours and energy spoons in a day. If I had to explain the new music, I’d try saying ultra-intelligent words like “diet deedly dee sound” and “flowing water music”. (Besides, I know that whatever new music I like will have similar qualities to that which I already know and love.)

I haven’t learned to the level that a real Sigur Ross fan would want to converse with me. It’s the same in business. If the subject doesn’t interest you, but it’s of great importance to your staff and clients, learn just enough to ask questions and nod at the right moments, so they can enlighten you. Even if, as was said in one of the ICON 14 meetings, “the phrase ‘I don’t know’ sounds like laziness because there’s so much information”, people do have to sleep and get rejuvenated from time to time.

It’s no use trying to energize yourself by the awful thought, “but I’ll be missing out on something if I don’t learn this new social media/blog/technological thingy right now”. Yes, you might. On the other hand, there are a lot of people trying things that won’t work, things that are The Thing for Right Now but won’t be for later. As was also said in ICON 14, your family relationships are much more important than anything that happens in the business world. This doesn’t mean you have to neglect your family OR your business – just concentrate on them with the appropriate amount of focus and learn to switch off. It means that when the guilt feelings threaten to drown you, bring out the mental surfboard of “one thing at a time” and ride the wave of Trying New Things. Then put back the surfboard, and get back to doing what you really know well. 


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