Why Boss Shame Is Blocking Your Business Growth

Never let the possibility of embarrassment keep something broken that your visionary intuition wants to fix.

As you are reading this, you probably also have multiple emails in your inbox to respond to, a handful of proposals to send out or follow up on in addition to that process task you have been meaning to get to for a while now that just keeps nagging at you.

Meanwhile, the magic laced solutions you have sprinkled all over your client’s are working flawlessly. They cannot sing enough praises about how you have helped them transform from being a hot mess to full on badassery mode.

In the marketplace, the perception is that you have it all together - in reality, you know that your business is in survival mode. And if you get really honest with yourself you can admit that things have been that way for a while and you aren’t really sure of how to make them any better. You almost feel paralyized by the overwhelm.

Identifying Boss Shame In Your Business

Do any of these sound familiar?

  • I can do XYZ for my clients, but can not seem to do the same thing for my own business

  • I am way too busy and don’t have enough time to work on my business

  • I am so frustrated that important things keep slipping through the cracks

If so, whether you have ever put a name to it yourself or not, you are probably dealing with the type of overwhelm that I refer to as Boss Shame.

I recently had a connection call with business partners from a firm that does similar type of work around business systems that I do. And during our conversation they revealed how embarrassed they were to be able to streamline and make their clients' businesses run smoothly while at the same time being afraid that anybody might see the mess and lack of operational structure that lurked just underneath the surface of their own business.

I completely understood where they were coming from because I have stood in that same place myself.

Why do we live with Boss Shame?

We live with stressful and stagnant effects of Boss Shame because we do not want to jack up our professional credibility in the marketplace.

It is my opinion that the limiting mindset of I’m the boss, so I should know how to do this keeps too many entrepreneurs stuck and silently suffering in chaos.

I talk about examples of Boss Shame on Boss Talk all the time. Far too often we feel the pressure of presenting ourselves in a certain kind of way because we are trying to nurture valuable connections and attract new clients. So openly talking about how whack or non-existent our business systems are, usually is not very high on the conversation list.

There is always the potential embarrassment associated with raising a hand to admit that help is needed. And I get that. I promise I do.

In this moment, you are being presented with two choices: evolve or stay stuck.

A critical step in evolving is acknowledging that there is a problem and seeking out the support and resources needed to solve it.

Here is an example of when I lived with Boss Shame.

Before I hired my amazing assistant, my client on-boarding process was super clunky and took up so much of my valuable time to complete manually.

This is how things used to go. After receiving that coveted yes from a client I would manually update the Word version of my contract with the project details, then format that document into a PDF to upload it into my electronic signature program before sending it to my client to review and execute. Once the contract was signed, I had to log into my invoice system, set up a client profile and then manually create an invoice or a set of recurring invoices to go out to that client for payment. After receiving payment, I’d log into my email account to send a welcome email with an embedded link to have the client schedule their initial on-boarding call. And if I remembered to do so in a timely manner, I’d send a thoughtful on-boarding gift.


The excitement of welcoming a new client quickly became deflated once I thought about all the work associated with my disjointed on-boarding process. I knew I needed help - and eventually I got out of my own way, pushed aside my own pride and finally asked for it.

Boss Shame be damned - I was tired of being bullied by overwhelm in my own business.

The temporary embarrassment of acknowledging that I didn’t have it all together was outshined by the long term benefits of kicking overwhelm in the face. Acknowledging and doing something about the Boss Shame I was living with freed up my time and actually increased my revenue. Yes, facing my Boss Shame head on and investing in support allowed me to develop a streamlined on-boarding process that increased my revenue by over 400% just 6 months after admitting that I needed help.

3 Steps Toward Recovery

Want to stop feeling overwhelmed in your business and start recovering from Boss Shame as well? Here is a good place to start.

Do a Self Check

I firmly believe that taking care of yourself is taking care of your business - so how are you? Are you feeling overwhelmed? Stressed out? On the verge of losing your shit? Give yourself permission to be vulnerable and honest with your answer to this question.