The following is an excerpt from “WorkParty,” by Jaclyn Johnson. With stories from leading female entrepreneurs including Christene Barberich (co-founder of Refinery29), Alli Webb, (creator of Drybar), Morgan Debaun (founder of Blavity), Jen Gotch of Ban.do, Rebecca Minkoff, and Kendra Scott, Johnson explores her journey to entrepreneurship.
“I am an entrepreneur.”
Those are four very important words to speak out loud.
Remember, confidence begets confidence. You should bookend your crazy thoughts with those four words.
“I am an entrepreneur.“
Pep talk to self: This is what an entrepreneur looks like. That woman in the mirror. The one saying yes and figuring it out. The one confidently putting one unconfident foot in front of the other. Oh my gosh, what am I doing? What did I get myself into? What if they find me out? Or will I fail? No. You won’t fail. Or you might. Either way, you’re going after it. You’re doing it.
“I am an entrepreneur.”
Entrepreneur is a title you bestow on yourself and something that I didn’t take lightly — I felt like I had earned my imaginary badge.
No one ever says to you, “Hey! You’re an entrepreneur, did you know that?”
It’s something you have to muster up some gumption to say to yourself, first in the mirror and then to others. “Hey, Jackie, you’re an entrepreneur.” Say it to yourself a million times. The official name of someone who refers to herself in third person is an illeist.
Most famous illeists are men. The Rock. Bob Dole. Elmo. Which is definitely cute. But if you think about it, little kids do it all the time: “Andy wants a cookie.” “Maya wants to watch TV.” And little kids, as some of you know, are the best negotiators. They win all the time.
During difficult situations, like the first two years of launching a biz, talking to yourself in third person can actually help calm you down. According to a study published in the journal Scientific Reports, talking about yourself to yourself is a way to make that internal monologue useful.
Those pep talks you give yourself in the morning? Do it in third person, with either your own name or a pronoun like “you,” “he,” or “she.” Or do it before you’re about to step into a big presentation to calm your jitters. Practice and see what happens to your nerves when you make the switch.
Go from something like this:
“I can do this. I know this material and I’m ready to go in and show them.”
To something like this:
“You can do this. You know this material and you’re ready to go in and show them.”
In the second-person example, you become your own best friend. And if you’re your own best friend, you can never be betrayed (a lesson I was about to learn).