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How a marketing expert followed her higher calling into entrepreneurship through coaching, self-reflection and self-talk

Show Notes

What do you do as a new entrepreneur with self-critical thoughts that make achieving success hard and keep you feeling stuck?

In this podcast episode, you'll hear from executive & career coach, Terry McDougall, about her entrepreneurial journey and how to deal with the inner critic that’s making you feel that achieving success in your entrepreneur journey is hard.

Terry McDougall on Starting Advantage

In this episode with Terry:

  • Why Terry decided to become an entrepreneur in 2017 after 30 years of corporate business experience. (3:23) 

  • Why Terry made the decision to go from being a marketing consultant to an executive coach. (5:31)

  • Why Terry believes coaching and helping others succeed is her higher calling. (8:40)

  • How Terry’s family members responded when she shared her entrepreneurial plans. (10:34)

  • Advice on how to have conversations about your business or plans with loved ones so that they can understand your vision and be more likely to be supportive. (12:58)

  • Why you should think of your inner critic as a gremlin that is trying to protect you. (15:48)

  • Why you should think that success doesn’t have to be hard and how to cultivate this mindset. (18:28)

  • Why the first step to doing anything new is believing that it’s possible. (22:28)

  • How Terry is using skills from her past to build and enhance her current business. (24:47)

  • Why it is smart to hire people to help with your business instead of trying to do everything yourself. (26:24)

  • The top skills that you should focus on putting time into developing as an entrepreneur. (28:40)

  • Something that most high-achievers struggle with that can support you in staying realistic about your progress. (30:05)

  • How Terry celebrates her wins as a habit. (32:28)

  • How Terry supports people in identifying if they should work towards career goals in their current position or if they should rather start their own business. (33:00)

  • How a mastermind group supported Terry in reaching for entrepreneurial success. (36:19)

  • The mindset Terry believes gives her the advantage to manage her inner talk and inner critic. (37:13)

  • Common fears and challenges entrepreneurs have based on her coaching experience and the research she did for her best-selling book. (39:11)

  • Why you shouldn't compare yourself to very successful entrepreneurs you see in the media (and should always take care to manage your taxes). (40:42)

  • How to connect with Terry. (42:56)

Resources mentioned:

Disclosure: The link(s) to the resource(s) mentioned in this podcast and its blog, Starting Advantage with Tania De Ridder, are not endorsements or affiliated links, meaning that neither the podcast nor its host earns a commission or compensation if you decide to purchase or use the mentioned service(s) on this page.

Starting Advantage welcomes voices from many spheres with different perspectives and opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. The show does not endorse, promote, or is in association with guests' business interests. 

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Eps 38 - How to Deal With Your Inner Critic so That Achieving Success Doesn’t Have to Be Hard With Terry McDougall


Please enjoy this transcript of Terry McDougall's interview with Tania on the Starting Advantage Podcast. This transcript is lightly edited for readability.

[00:03:15] Tania De Ridder: Hi Terry, welcome to Starting Advantage. Thank you for being here today.

[00:03:19] Terry McDougall: Oh, Tania, I'm so excited to be here and have this conversation with you.

Why Terry decided to become an entrepreneur in 2017 after 30 years of corporate business experience.


[00:03:23] Tania De Ridder:  After 30 years of corporate business experience as a marketer at global companies,  15 of which were in senior managerial roles,  you chose to become an entrepreneur.  And you've shared on your blog, that when you made the decision to do something different, you weren't exactly sure what that something was yet,   but that it felt that you had a higher calling.    Please share with me a little bit more about that time in your life,  what you were feeling and what you were thinking when you made that decision.

[00:03:53] Terry McDougall: At the last company I worked for, I was there for 12 years.  And the last role that I had was one that I did not apply for. My boss said she wanted me in that role. I actually tried to say no,  because I didn't think it was going to be a good fit. And in fact, it wasn't a good fit and I  figured that out,  pretty shortly after I took the role, but I didn't really have a choice but to continue working in it.  And it really started me thinking about what do I want to do next?  I had already worked at the company for about 10 years when this started dawning on me. And I was really looking around and thinking like, what do I want to do next?   I didn't see a lot of opportunities at the company I was working for.  So that led me to do some introspection and say to myself, like, what am I good at? And what do I really love to do?  And as a marketing leader, one of the things I got a lot of satisfaction from was coaching and mentoring people on my teams.  I loved doing it. I saw that it was the right thing to do for the organization and I knew that people that were on my teams really enjoyed having somebody invest in them so that they could be more successful and move up and so forth.  And so I  decided to get a certification in coaching.  And in many ways, I feel like it took advantage of the 30 years of corporate experience that I had and all the lessons that I learned along the way,  either through the school of hard knocks or through mentors,  and then the formal training as a coach, I was able to combine both of those. So it was really a nice way to pivot and take advantage of the experience I already had but go in a new direction that was fun and exciting for me. 

Why Terry made the decision to go from being a marketing consultant to an executive coach.


[00:05:31] Tania De Ridder: Terry, I know that when you left your corporate career, you worked as a consultant in marketing. So how did you make that transition and that decision to go from being a marketing consultant to becoming an executive coach?

[00:05:47]  Terry McDougall: I actually decided to leave my corporate job without having another job.  I was able to do that.  I was a little bit burned out to tell you the truth. And  I really wanted to take some time to think about what do I want to do next.  And so,  the most natural thing was just to do marketing consulting. Right? So  I was introduced to a couple of companies that were looking for somebody to work on some projects. And so  I took that on just to have some cash flow coming in while I was sort of detoxing a little bit from the stressful situation and also figuring out what was next.

[00:06:26]  I was at that time interviewing for full-time jobs, but I also was doing that introspection. And during that time,  I met somebody who had gone through the coach training program that I ultimately decided to go through and she had a similar story to what I had. She was a PR professional and, you know, over the course of her career just felt like she outgrew it. And she was also looking for something new.  And so a few years before I met her, she had found coaching, gone through this coaching program and was running her own coaching practice. And when I  met her and got to ask her lots of questions and everything, I recognized that there were a lot of similarities between her situation and mine.  And,  she told me how much she enjoyed it, what she liked about it, what it leveraged from her backgrounds.  And I  initially did not think that I would do it full-time but I thought this is great. I will get the training.  I will get another job.  My coach training will help me in my new job. Maybe I'll have a couple of clients on the side. And then I also thought, as I got closer to retirement, that this would be a nice off-ramp. You know, something that I could do, a side hustle that I could do up until retirement and then maybe I would do it full-time at retirement.  

[00:07:47] The coach training program was six months long. And in the time that I was going through it, I went through with a cohort of about 40 people.  And many of the people in my program were planning on starting businesses or maybe they already had businesses. And I believe that that entrepreneurial spirit can be contagious.  

[00:08:07] Tania De Ridder: I love that. 

[00:08:09] Terry McDougall: Yeah,  yeah.  Being around all of these people and I was watching them do this and I thought, well, I can do it too. You know, they can do it, I can do it. And it's just very nice to have a tribe of people that are sort of on a similar journey because then you can support each other. If somebody has a great idea, or if you have a great idea, you can share them. And it made it so much easier to make that decision when I knew that I wasn't the only one doing it at that time. 

Why Terry believes coaching and helping others succeed is her higher calling.


[00:08:40] Tania De Ridder: You spoke about feeling that there was something more.  At what stage did you realize that coaching was that higher calling?  

[00:08:49] Terry McDougall: It's funny because I'm the oldest of four girls in my family.  And so  I've thought about this a lot over the last couple of years, and what I realize is that I have always really wanted to help people,   even when I was in school and if somebody was having a hard time getting a concept that I knew, I would want to help them.  As a big sister,    if I figured something out, I would want to help my sisters and show them how to do things.  And I also have just been somebody that people would come to whenever they had problems or whatever.

[00:09:26] I just like to brainstorm.  I think I'm pretty accepting and empathetic. So it's something I really enjoyed doing.  And,  it was also something that as a leader, that it just seemed natural to me to really make the time to spend with people that were on my team.  And I know that a lot of managers don't do that.   I've worked for people that would always cancel my one-on-one meetings and I felt like I was out there on my own.  And so I didn't want the people that were on my team to feel like that because  I would think about what did that feel like when that happened to me?  

[00:10:03] When I met that woman who was the PR professional, it just kind of clicked.  I just thought I would love that because I love learning.   I had also hired coaches a couple of times in my career so I knew that there was a lot of value there to help people or help me get past some obstacles that I couldn't see.   And so I knew there was value there and it just thrilled me to think about being able to provide that for other people and to do it professionally.  

How Terry’s family members responded when she shared her entrepreneurial plans.


[00:10:34] Tania De Ridder: How did your family members and your loved ones respond? 

[00:10:38] Terry McDougall: Yes. That is a good question. My husband and I  moved from North Carolina to the Chicago area in 2005, and we have three children and at the time that we moved here, we moved for my job and it was a big promotion for me.  And my husband and I actually decided that he would stay home with our children,   just for a number of reasons, but mainly because it was such a big city, it would be hard to balance like the childcare and working and all of that. So, he stayed home. He did start his own photography business after my youngest child started school,  but it really was something that gave us extra money. It wasn't going to pay the mortgage.  So my husband has always been very supportive of me and my career. And initially, he was like, oh yeah, that's great. Go ahead and get that certification and everything.  But he definitely got a little nervous when he realized that I was not going to get another corporate job.  And so for about two and a half years he and I both ran our own companies out of our house and we made it work. We made it work, but he went back to work about a year and a half ago.

[00:11:52] And I will admit that's taken off some of the burdens of the health insurance because that's a big expense when you're paying a hundred percent of your health insurance yourself.  And, he actually went back into banking, which is what he had done before we moved here.   We definitely had a couple of little arguments about the fact that he really wanted me to go back and get another high-paying corporate job.  And I was feeling my way along, but to go back to corporate, did not feel like the right path for me. And it was difficult, I will say because  I was going into unchartered territory.  And he wanted the stability that we had for all those years, whenever I was working in the corporate world,   which I wanted that too, but I just felt like that wasn't the right path for me. I think my, my intuition and my heart were kind of pulling me in one direction and it was a little bit scary, right. It's very uncertain. But I am so glad that I  stepped into my courage and just kept moving. 

Advice on how to have conversations about your business or plans with loved ones so that they can understand your vision and be more likely to be supportive.


[00:12:58] Tania De Ridder: Terry, it sounds to me you're like you used your strong communication skills to walk a journey with your family and to keep communicating and looking for solutions together.   I'm so glad you were able to do that.  Do you have any advice for new entrepreneurs on how to open that conversation or how to approach communication around starting a business?   

[00:13:22] Terry McDougall:   I've got a lot of experience with coaching people that want to pivot in their careers, similar to what I did. And it can be difficult because, you know, you go from something that's black and white, like, 'oh, I know what I'm doing' to sometimes moving into a grey area where you're not really sure what direction things are going to go.  And I will say that you were giving me some,  I dunno, compliments that I'm not sure that I fully earned in terms of my good communication skills because it's been a long journey since 2017 when I left my corporate job and there were times when I was really feeling my way along in the dark, you know, and it was scary. 

[00:14:04] And sometimes I wasn't communicating as much with my husband because I wasn't sure what to tell him. I was still figuring it out for myself.  And, you know, a couple of times it did sort of blow up into arguments because I wasn't sharing my thoughts, but it was because I was still formulating them.   If I had advice for people, it would be to maybe sit down and think through so that you can communicate clearly with your partner and, you know when I was forced to, and when I really had to stop and think about it,  I did lay out for him why I thought that this was a good idea,  right and why I thought that I could replace my earnings with my own business, you know, from what I made in the corporate world.  I think that in many ways also I think that it caused him to kind of re-examine what he had control over, you know because we did need him at home when our children were very, very young,  but at the time that he was sort of pressuring me to get another job, our children were in their twenties and teens.  And so it wasn't like they needed constant daily care like they did when they were very young. And so  I think he finally woke up and realized like, 'Oh, if I don't like this, maybe I just need to get a job'.  And that's what he did.  And I think that he feels a lot better for having done that rather than just feeling like it was all on me to do that. 

[00:15:28] Tania De Ridder: Hmm. Thank you so much for sharing that, Terry.   I think it's so important to be honest, that it's not easy.  There can be challenges, unexpected challenges sometimes,  and it's great advice.  Sit down and write down specifics, have some sort of proof or some sort of structure and plan to share with your family so that they can see what your vision is.

Why you should think of your inner critic as a gremlin that is trying to protect you.


[00:15:48]  I saw on your blog, how you have a gremlin and his name is Ralph. 

[00:15:54] Terry McDougall: Yeah. 

[00:15:55] Tania De Ridder:  I'd love to have your advice on how you've learned to deal with your gremlin or then your inner critic. 

[00:16:02] Terry McDougall: Yeah. You know, I think that all of us have that voice in our head that says, 'oh, you know, you need to do this or you need to do that and if you don't something bad is going to happen.  I call it a gremlin, that voice in the head. A lot of times the gremlin is very harsh with us, right. It's critical. It's perfectionistic.  It's sometimes catastrophized about, 'oh, if you don't do this, you're going to get fired or you're gonna lose your house or whatever.' And it's very important, number one, to recognize that the gremlin is there to try to keep us safe,  but the gremlin has no nuances. The gremlin is going to be very harsh about trying to keep you safe.   

[00:16:45] I will tell you one of the things that I was very worried about and what my gremlin kept saying to me when I first left my job,  it was the first time that I hadn't gotten up and gone into a job every day for decades. And, the gremlin was in the back of my head saying,' you better get another job right away, because if you don't, you're going to be bankrupt and you're going to lose your house'. And, you know,  all of these terrible things are gonna happen, but you know, the more rational part of me stepped in and said, is that really true? Let's look at the evidence, you know, and I think sometimes you have to recognize that it's not you, you know,  it's not you telling yourself that. Like, sometimes we don't recognize, we don't separate that little voice and say, well, that's not me. That's my gremlin. And my gremlin is trying to keep me safe. All it knows how to do is to scare me half to death because it's trying to keep me safe.  I had to let the rational part of me step in and look at the bank accounts and say, you know, if you didn't make any money between now and like five years from now and then, yeah, maybe you're going to end up on the street, but that's a long runway, right.  And I had to kind of come to grips with that to say,  you worked for a long time and if you choose to pivot and do something different, it's your prerogative to use those assets that you earned to do whatever you want with, right. And so I had to like, kind of ask the gremlin to back off a little bit so that I didn't feel so constricted and so scared.

[00:18:18] Tania De Ridder: I love that. To think of it as separate from yourself, right. You can make a decision on whether you're going to listen to this gremlin.    

Why you should think that success doesn’t have to be hard and how to cultivate this mindset.


[00:18:28] Terry, something I'm wondering about is on your website you have a welcome headline that says, 'success doesn't have to be hard'.  And so when you're thinking of the gremlin and you're thinking of all the fears we have, I think there's a lot of people that would like to challenge you on that. So I'd love it if you could just explain your thinking around that.

[00:18:47] Terry McDougall:  The first thing that I would say is perception is reality. And so if you believe that things need to be hard,  then guess what they are going to be hard.  If you believe that things can come to you more easily,   I'm not saying that it will, you know, that you snap your fingers and all of a sudden you get everything you want,  but you have to start with believing that the things that you want are possible.  I coach high-achieving professionals that are successful, but not satisfied.  And what I mean by that is that if you look at these people on paper, you'd be like, what do they have to complain about?  They've got great titles, they're making a good amount of money they're working for good companies but they're usually paying a higher price than is necessary for that success.  They are probably being very self-critical and they probably are holding themselves to extremely high standards and maybe believing that things really need to be perfect or that they have to get everything on their to-do list done to be deemed as worthy.  

[00:19:52]I think that for high achieving people, that they focus very much on external validation and it can cause us to kind of stay in this lower, not to get too woo woo, but like kind of lower vibrating levels of energy. So like in fear or in defensiveness or, you know, kind of in the fight or flight mode, that survival mode. Survival mode is a good place to be if you're being attacked. You know,  if you're truly in danger, if a bear is chasing you through the woods, yes. You want that adrenaline to go through to your body so that you can outrun the bear, but if you're feeling like that every day at work, it's a very, very expensive way to motivate yourself.   It doesn't allow you to rise to these higher levels of energy where you're seeing opportunities,  where you're connecting with other people where that you're open to, you know, seeing how else could I get this goal? Right. I like to say that when we're in that fight or flight mode, we're actually seeing the world through a pinhole and physiologically scientists have studied this, that people's range of vision actually narrows to something very narrow because you know, they're focused on, oh, there's the bear. And there's my, there's my path to get away from the bear, right?  They're not taking everything in, right. Because they're trying to survive. And this is what happens to us.  maybe you've worked with somebody who has really been miserable and all they want to do talk about is all the ways they've been wronged or how they're afraid they're going to get fired. All of that. They're really obsessing about that.  But if people can relax and say, 'you know what? I believe that I'm going to be successful.  And I'm a smart person. I have success in my background. I'm going to relax into that'. I'm not saying like, relax, don't do work. I'm saying stop worrying and focus your energy on the goal.

[00:21:57] And when people are doing the things they can do,  they're feeling empowered.  That's much more in the flow than us feeling like we have to grind things out all the time. So that's kind of what I mean by it is that let yourself rise to those higher levels of energy, where you can see the opportunities and that you're not living in fear every day, because that's really wasted energy when you're worrying and you're feeling defensive.  

Why the first step to doing anything new is believing that it’s possible.


[00:22:28] Tania De Ridder: That connects to something I wanted to ask you about. I heard you speak about when you're doing anything new the first step is that you need to believe that it's possible. So what can we do to help strengthen that belief if we're feeling a lot of insecurity or fear?

[00:22:46]  Terry McDougall: What I have observed,  with myself and with a lot of people that I've coached is that if I ask them, 'what is it that you want'? Like if somebody comes into a coaching session and you know, like maybe its the first session,  and they are telling me that they're unhappy, and this is why they're seeking coaching and I'll say, okay, 'well,  if we could wave a magic wand and you could have anything that you want, like, what would you like the situation to look like'?

[00:23:13] And a lot of times they'll either say, 'I don't know', or they'll say, 'well, I really wish that I could get promoted to the next level and immediately'.  Or you know, maybe with a business owner, it might be that 'I really wish that I could increase the number of clients that I have',  but these are all the reasons why I can't do that, right.  They don't separate the thing that they want from how they're going to get there. They'll say, well, this is what I want, but here are the 10 reasons why I can't have it.  And, I think that if people will allow their desires to live, if they allow their dream to live, their dream can start having a bit of a life of its own.

[00:23:54] And they may if they keep kind of an open mind and rise up to that level of energy where they can see the opportunities rather than staying in that lower level where they're very fearful. You don't see a lot of opportunities if you're hiding in a cave,  but if you walk out and you're like, okay, well I know that maybe it could be dangerous to come out of the cave, but I'm going to keep my eyes open for threats, but I'm also going to look for the opportunities.  And,  when we can get in that headspace, that's when great things can happen. That's when we can find other people that can help us. That's when, you know, maybe we're on a path and we find a path to someplace even better than we started off to find. 

[00:24:37] Tania De Ridder: That makes a lot of sense,   especially in helping you to decide to take action because you're not holding yourself back by the fear mindset. 

[00:24:47] Terry McDougall: Yeah. 

How Terry is using skills from her past to build and enhance her current business.


[00:24:47]  Tania De Ridder: You have a podcast called Marketing Mambo, where you 'cha-cha-chat' with marketers from around the globe.   I was curious why you decided to start a podcast on marketing instead of coaching?

[00:25:00] Terry McDougall: I was a marketer for 30 years in my career, and  I coach people across industries and across functional areas. But I do have a lot of clients that are in marketing and advertising.  And I was talking with one of my clients in December and we just kind of got off on a side conversation about marketing and she said, this is such an interesting conversation. I think it would make a good podcast. And as soon as she said that, it kind of connected with a little bit of a desire that I had had.   For the most part, I don't miss being in the corporate world, but one thing I do miss is being around other smart marketers who are learning new things and  I guess kind of put that desire that I recognized in myself together with what my client said, and I thought, well, why not? This would be fun to have a podcast about different perspectives and marketing. And,  because I do business with a lot of people in marketing who are looking for coaches I thought, well, this is a good way for people to get to know me but also for me to do something that's just fun. And I absolutely love it. 

[00:26:11] Tania De Ridder: I'll definitely share the link to the podcast in the show notes.  I think it's so smart because you're using your background to also support your current business,  and you're still getting that outlet for an area that you loved.    

Why it is smart to hire people to help with your business instead of trying to do everything yourself.


[00:26:24] How did you use your marketing knowledge to help build your coaching business?  

[00:26:29] Terry McDougall:   I used a lot of skills that I've honed over the years for different aspects. I mean everything from branding my business to,  you know, I was a graphic designer at one point, I do a lot of graphic design for my podcast and then  I did a lot of writing as a marketer and I wrote a book, you know, so,   I've used all that. It's a lot easier, honestly, to do marketing for somebody else than it is to do for yourself.  

[00:26:55] I'm actually working right now with a marketing coach to help me.   It's funny because when I was talking with her recently, we were just talking about the fact that I have a lot of parts and pieces.   I'm good at writing and graphic design and all of that, but it's very difficult for me to step back and understand the strategy because it's hard to brand yourself and you just can't get enough perspective on yourself. But  I have done a lot of things.  I'm very active on LinkedIn in terms of posting a lot of content. I've done videos. I've got the podcast. I've written a lot of articles that have been on LinkedIn and Medium. I have a blog on my website.  

[00:27:34] So I'm trying to be visible in a way that people can get to know me before they set up a call with me because I do think a lot of times that, especially for coaching because it's so personal,  that people don't want to reach out and be vulnerable and say, 'Oh, I've got this problem' unless they feel like they could trust me. Right. So I'm trying to use these various channels to be visible. So people know me well enough to feel like, 'okay, she's a good person. I think I could have a conversation with her'.   

[00:28:04] And one of the other things that I would say about that too, is that I was a marketing director. I mean, I led marketing. I had people on my team. I worked in big organizations that had a lot of specialists that I could reach out to for social media marketing and stuff like that. So I didn't have to know how to do everything.  And that's difficult when you become an entrepreneur and especially a solopreneur,  you know,  everything is your job, as you know,  and it's hard to be good at everything. And so I think it's smart to hire people who know how to do it and not try to do everything yourself. 

The top skills that you should focus on putting time into developing as an entrepreneur.


[00:28:40] Tania De Ridder:  You do coach a lot of business owners and entrepreneurs as well.  What would you say are the top skills that you believe a founder or a business owner should focus on putting time into developing to help them succeed?

[00:28:54] Terry McDougall: I just touched on probably the biggest one, which is prioritizing and looking for those leverage points,  because it's very easy with people that are smart and have done a lot of things to just say, 'well, I know how to do this, so, therefore, I'm going to do it'.   I think it's very important to step back and say, 'What's the highest value work that I need to be working on and what are things that I can delegate'  and to be very disciplined and active about finding people to do the things that you don't have to do. Maybe they need to be done,  but you know that somebody else can do so that it frees you up to do the most important things that only you can do.  And in my case, it's the coaching right now. Because right now I'm the only person. Maybe sometime in the future, I may hire people, but that's the service that I get paid for.  And it's the service that only I can do. So for me to clear my plate of other things that aren't revenue-generating is a smart thing to do. 

[00:30:02] Tania De Ridder: Absolutely.   

Something that most high-achievers struggle with that can support you in staying realistic about your progress.


[00:30:05] We actually have a shared belief about high achievers:  they are notoriously so focused on their goals that they don't take the time to celebrate their wins.  What advice do you have for making it a habit to do this,   and what does celebrating a win look like to you?

[00:30:21] Terry McDougall: Yeah, I think that it's very important if you meet a milestone, to stop for a moment and think about how far have I come, let me look back over my shoulder to see where I started? Because I have noticed with many high achievers that they'll hit a very important milestone and maybe something that was very, very difficult to get to and they'll be like, 'okay, I'm here. What's next. What's next.'  And then I see it a lot in coaching where people do not give themselves credit and it can really erode their confidence and they can start doubting themselves.  

[00:30:57] I actually had a client that I was working with this year, who is a business owner and  I started working with her probably about a year ago during COVID.  And she was really working crazy hours just to try to keep her business going.  And,  at times she'd get on the phone with me and she would say, ' I'm failing. I'm just not doing this' and I would really have to remind her: your business is solvent. You have continued to pay for your employees, like, you have to look at it in the context of you doing this. Like under a normal year, it would just be average, right. But to just stay in business in 2020, was an extraordinary accomplishment. 

[00:31:42] And so it's very important to look at it in the context and to give yourself credit for it because, you know, sometimes we can tend to only compare ourselves to the very most successful people out there instead of seeing ourselves in the full context and to realize like, okay, ' I'm doing great', right?  I'm making enough money to pay my bills. Okay, am I Bill Gates or Jeff Bezos?  No, man, I'm not there yet, right. But you have to give yourself credit for the success that you have had and put it in context. 

[00:32:16] Tania De Ridder:   Absolutely.  I think often when we compare ourselves to very successful entrepreneurs,  we don't even realize the challenges or the struggles they have or the big team that they have to support them.

How Terry celebrates her wins as a habit.


[00:32:28] But Terry, I'm curious, what do you do to celebrate your wins?   

[00:32:33] Terry McDougall:   I'll text friends or tell my husband, like, if I get a new client or something like that.  I'll say, 'oh, I got a new client'. I am pretty good about sharing because I like to have people say, you know, 'way to go, girl'. I mean, I'm pretty driven and I work hard,  but if I hit a milestone, I'm pretty good about giving myself credit for it,  and I'm proud of that.    

How Terry supports people in identifying if they should work towards career goals in their current position or if they should rather start their own business.


[00:33:00] Tania De Ridder: When you coach clients, how do you help them identify if they should work towards career goals within their current industry or company,  or if they should rather go on an entrepreneurial journey?

[00:33:13] Terry McDougall: I am the person that helps them shine the light on their own situation.  I ask people lots of questions. I reflect back to them what I'm hearing.  I know that a lot of people do wish that there was an assessment or something that we could give to say, okay, fill out these 10 questions, oh yeah, you should be an entrepreneur.  

[00:33:34]  Once you start on the journey, it's going to take a lot of heart. It's going to take a lot of courage to stay on the path.  Being a coach is really about helping people get clarity on their goals and then helping them develop a roadmap to get there. And then holding them accountable for taking the action that they've said that they want to take to reach that goal. Many times people know very clearly what they want,  but are getting clarity on that goal. And I've had lots of people that have said,  ' I'm up for a promotion, but I'm also considering maybe leaving and starting my own company or starting my own consulting firm'.

[00:34:12] And we will weigh the pros and cons of them.  I'll ask a lot of questions about what is it that's attractive to you about that?   Just so that they can get a feel because typically  I think it's coming from the inside.  You can feel it in your body and when people tell me, 'I'm not sure what I want to do', like sometimes I'll say, 'okay, well,  close your eyes and imagine you a year from now.  And you're sitting in your office. Okay. Now open your eyes. What do you see?  Do you see the logo of the company you work for now? Or are you sitting in your same office or are you someplace else, right? Are you in your own business?' And that actually has helped a number of people get clarity,  because deep down inside we know what we want,  but honestly, I think it's the gremlin that sometimes builds a wall between where we are and maybe like the heart of hearts, what we really want because the gremlin wants to keep us safe. And sometimes the things that we want means that we're going to have to do something that is a little risky. 

[00:35:18] Tania De Ridder: Yes. Like causing us to not trust our instinct. Or to feel unsure about if it's the right instinct? 

[00:35:26] Terry McDougall: Yes, I do want to add something here too. And that is that sometimes people think that the status quo is safe and it's not, you know. I also do outplacement coaching or career transition coaching. And I have coached lots of people who worked at a company for 20 or 25 years and they thought 'I'm just going to stay here until retirement'. And then the company makes a different decision. They get sold or they have to downsize or whatever. And all of a sudden somebody realizes, 'oh,  I thought my safe job was safe and it's not'.  We just don't know what the next day is going to hold.  And so why not become the captain of your own destiny? Right? Because at least you're steering the ship.  You can decide what direction it goes in instead of maybe the CEO of the company that you work for, you know, shipwrecking you.  

How a mastermind group supported Terry in reaching for entrepreneurial success.


[00:36:19] Tania De Ridder: Which habits or mindset have you personally found to have helped you the most to achieve your success?

[00:36:26] Terry McDougall: I want to share two.   One came up earlier when we were talking about celebration and for years until very recently I was a member of a mastermind group. And it was a group of coaches that we all went through the same coach training. We graduated at different times, but somehow we found each other and we met every two weeks for an hour and we would share our successes. We would share our frustrations, we would support each other.  And that was very, very helpful, right.  If I felt down or if I felt scared,  I could share that with people that I knew understood it. And I returned the favour for them when they felt down or, you know,  we just shared a lot, which was very, very helpful.

The mindset Terry believes gives her the advantage to manage her inner talk and inner critic.


[00:37:13] But from a mindset standpoint, I think it's having awareness about the beliefs and the inner talk.  If I'm finding that I'm feeling a certain way, it's important for me to go in and say, what is the belief or what I'm saying to myself, that's causing me to feel that way.  And if you can find that and bring it up to the surface, you can start to replace it with something else.  And it might be that if I'm saying to myself, like, 'oh, I'm scared to raise my prices or nobody's ever going to pay me that amount'. I'm going to feel discouraged. And  if I go into a conversation where I'm trying to win a new client, I'm going to stumble when it comes time for me to talk about my pricing, right. 

[00:38:03] And so if I recognize that, and maybe I've lost a couple of deals because I have not been confident, I can look at that and say, 'Oh, well, if I'm saying I'm not worth it, what do I want to say instead? You know, maybe I want to say to myself, 'well, Terry, you worked in corporate for 30 years and you went to one of the top training programs in the world, and one of your clients just gave you a great testimonial on LinkedIn'.  If I remember that,  then I can go in and I can feel confident and say, 'yes, I am worth it', but it's important to recognize those inner messages.  And when we recognize them also recognize that we can choose to replace them with another belief. 

[00:38:45] Tania De Ridder:   I am sure somebody listening is going to use that and it's going to help them move forward. 

[00:38:50]  I also want to congratulate you on your book,  'Winning the Game of Work: Career Happiness and Success On Your Own  Terms'.   In it you mentioned that in your coaching practice,  a lot of clients ask you the question, ' do other people have the same fears or challenges that I do?' and that your answer is, 'of course'. 

[00:39:11] Terry McDougall: Yes. 

Common fears and challenges entrepreneurs have based on her coaching experience and the research she did for her best-selling book.


[00:39:11] Tania De Ridder: What are these common fears or challenges that you see people have?

[00:39:15] Terry McDougall:  I think that a lot of people might appear confident on the outside, but they do have those doubts, you know,  they feel scared if maybe there's a new challenge.  Say, for example,  their boss is going to criticize them about something,  and I think that especially in the corporate world,  there's a lot of competition and there's a lot of comparisons.  And what we tend to see is people dressed up in their shiny best when we're at work. Right. People don't usually come in and spill their guts at work about like, 'Oh, I'm so scared' or  ' I feel inadequate' or anything like that, but usually when people are seeking coaching there is a disconnect between the things that they want and how they're feeling, right. They're not feeling confident.  They're trying to get over an obstacle and they keep falling back and they can't figure out how to get past it.  And when that happens, they often start feeling like there's something wrong with them. And they question their worth, they question whether they're cut out for this anymore, it's very common. It's very common. And,  sometimes that can cause people to just stop trying.   I think that's what separates the people that succeed from the people that don't. And a lot of times people think that very successful people were lucky, or they didn't run into a lot of obstacles and that's not true.

Why you shouldn't compare yourself to very successful entrepreneurs you see in the media (and should always take care to manage your taxes).


[00:40:42] And in fact, I interviewed 11 people in my book about their careers and the people that I chose were people that had a lot of ups and downs in their career.  And I wanted to share that so people would be inspired to say, wow, look at this person. They're so successful, but yet they got fired three times.  Or look at this guy, he has a really successful business, but oh, well, what about whenever he owed $150,000 to the IRS? Right?  This guy that I'm referring to, has a storytelling business where he teaches professionals, how to tell stories to be better salespeople, how to be better presenters, how to be better leaders.  And he was struggling for years.  He said that he was working part-time at Trader Joe's and he was doing like little gigs here and there, wherever he could get them.  And he was in the New York area. And at some point, the New York Times decided they wanted to do a story on him.   They did a story, but as he said it,  there was a lot of, a lot of first dates, but you know, no kisses or something like that. That he had fallen for that kind of thing a bunch of times and nothing ever came of it.  And it ends up that just one day he ended up on the front page of the business section of the New York Times.  And all of a sudden he went from almost subsistence level, you know, working at Trader Joe's to being flown out to Google, to do big workshops for them. So we had this huge year, right. He was so excited living high the hog, but because it was such a huge success he didn't know how to manage his taxes, to pay his taxes.  And so when the tax bill came, he owed a ton of money, but he came back from it, you know as he figured it out. But, you know, he said that he got to a point where he was just like so depressed because he had this like a huge success, but because he wasn't used to that he didn't plan for the taxes. He said he restructured and he figured out how to pay the taxes. And, he's got a successful business now, but you know, a lot of people could look at him and say, oh, look how lucky he is. They don't know that he worked at Trader Joe's and he owed money to the IRS,  you know? 

How to connect with Terry.


[00:42:56] Tania De Ridder: I think it's so valuable these types of stories and they're true.  I will definitely share the link to the book in the show notes as well.  Terry,  how can people connect with you?

[00:43:06] Terry McDougall:  People can find me at my website, which is Terry-B-McDougall-dot-com. And I am also pretty active on LinkedIn and my handle there is Terry-B-McDougall. And if anybody wants to listen to Marketing Mambo,  it's at marketing-mambo-dot-net or on any of the platforms.

[END] Tania De Ridder owns the copyright of the content and transcripts of the Starting Advantage Podcast, all rights reserved.

Terry McDougall Profile Photo

Terry McDougall

Coach, CEO & Author

Terry Boyle McDougall is an Executive & Career Coach and CEO of Terry B. McDougall Coaching.

She helps high-achieving professionals remove obstacles that keep them stuck so they can enjoy more success and satisfaction in their lives and careers. Before becoming a coach, Terry was a long-time corporate marketing executive where she led teams, developed strategies and advised senior leaders to drive business results.

She is the author of 'Winning the Game of Work: Career Happiness and Success on Your Own Terms.'

She is also the host of the Marketing Mambo podcast.