Dear Jess...I’m starting over, alone…

Updated: Oct 5, 2018

Every Friday, Jess will be dropping by to help us overcome the obstacles and worries that are holding us back - the self-talk we can’t seem to silence, the struggles we can’t seem to shift and the challenges that have knocked us sideways. Share your questions with Jess at jess@jessratcliffe.com to receive a response here. All messages will be kept anonymous so please feel free to write freely.

I’ve done great things in my startup career. I look back and recall how terrified I was of the unknown task ahead, but I pushed through that fear every time and got it done. Now I’m working on my own thing and am starting over, alone. I wonder if the fear of disappointing my peers is what got me through before but now it’s just me and I’m not sure that’s enough.


You are enough. You are more than enough.


As you read those words, it might feel like they’re impossible to believe, especially in this moment - the beginning. So, rather than skipping past them, take a breath and read them in the first-person (“I am enough”) again and again until you feel them sink in. Until you feel something shift, like those words have entered your bones and changed your being.

When we’re freshly splashing our way into the deep end of our unknown, it’s easy to focus on fighting the fear because it’s new and it’s the loudest voice we hear.


Our brains are wired to work that way - to keep us “safe” and so as we’re boldly stepping into our unknown, they’re busy freaking out; doing their best to have us slide back into our comfort zone, our safety area and play it small.


As we hear this new, louder voice, we naturally start to question ourselves, why wouldn’t we?


Have I made a mistake? Can I really do this? What if I fail and people laugh? What if I’m judged for trying?

Our inner-critic is so loud, the fear is all we hear.

What if the vision I have for myself - and my business - is only ever destined to be just that - a vision and not a reality? What if that tiny voice - that inkling - telling me there’s more was wrong? What if I put myself out there and fail? What if I’m not enough?

I’ve heard those voices oh too often.

Instead of fighting the fear, our work is in feeling the fear and doing it anyway.


When we choose to craft our own path - to live outside the status quo - fear is a passenger on that journey. If it isn’t, our visions aren’t big enough.


Knowing that, our mission - if we choose to accept it - is in shifting our focus away from the fear and onto the possibilities.


With our mission in mind, here are a few questions to help you start steering your focus from fear to possibility:


When we re-read the note we’re working on today, fear is everywhere. We’re terrified of stepping into the unknown, we push through the fear and we’re wondering whether the fear of disappointing our peers is what got us through.


What if it wasn’t about pushing through the fear but being pulled by passion or potential?

What if this didn’t have to be a struggle, a fight? What if this became a joy? What would that look like?


Instead of being driven by the fear of disappointing our peers (a negative), what if we were driven by the excitement of reaching our potential (a positive)? What if we can achieve more building our own path than we ever did building someone else’s?


If you were more than enough…

  • what would you do?

  • how would you feel?

  • who would you become?

To conclude, I wanted to wrap up with this final reflection on today’s note:

You’re not “starting over” and you’re certainly not alone. (I’m on the other side of jess@jessratcliffe.com for starters and there are many amazing women in this community ready to support you).


You’re evolving into the person you want to be. You’re embarking on the next chapter, not your first chapter.


Everything you’ve achieved is still with you - those experiences, lessons learned and falls survived don’t disappear because we’re starting something new (even if that thing has zero connection to our past career).

Jess helps individuals turn their visions into reality, by applying a product mindset to their personal growth. Jess started her founder journey in her teens, with a moment on Dragons’ Den, and has since worked in product roles in London and San Fran in companies big and small.

In 2016, a life-threatening disease blew Jess’ world apart and set her on her path to build her most important product yet: the person she wants to be. www.jessratcliffe.com

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