You wake up every morning with a knot in your stomach. Before you open your eyes, you think of seventeen ideas you want to pull off in the next 24 hours. Scratch that. Twenty-three ideas.

As you lug yourself over to your favorite cafe, Roast or Toast, the sparky barista asks how much progress your startup has made. Are all baristas morning people? All of a sudden you remember the thirteen tasks you didn’t pull of yesterday, let alone the twenty-three news ideas you want to pull off today. Scratch that. Eleven new ideas. You forgot to write the others down.

You look at the all-too-curious barista with contempt. Why? It may be that you’re feeling judged.

Feeling judged sucks. You don’t have much control over what people actually think about you. You are reminded of all your shortcomings and failed efforts simultaneously. Worst of all, depending on your environment, you probably are being judged a lot of the time.

Now what?

The best way to avoid feeling judged is to be open with yourself and others. Be aware (and okay) of where you are today and where you are going with your startup. Then make that connection when you are talking to others. The connection is key. For example, let’s say you are working on a bike sharing app. In your mind you envision a full-fledged bike sharing app complete with bike stores in twenty-seven locations. However, right now you are testing for interest and feasibility with friends in the neighborhood. When you talk to others, start with your vision (e.g. “Put everyone on a bike!”). Use this  then to connect the dots to your current position (e.g. “If I can develop a working bike sharing system on a smaller scale, then I’ll have a better idea on how I can scale up.”).

The eager barista will be more than happy to give you a refill.

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