Credit: Ashley Bilodeau Photography

Early on in my business, I was offered a free 1:1 meeting with a "mentor" who was going to help me market my business. This meeting was to last 60 minutes and it was 58 minutes too long.

I am a life coach who helps female entrepreneurs create a safe space to get clear on who they are and what they do so they can go out and create a cohesive, memorable and shareable brand. The previous statement wasn't so clear at the time, that's why I was going to see this mentor.

This person was very confused about what I did and wanted to do. She didn't know what life coaching was, how I planned to any make any money at it, what I did as a coach or had any interest in it. Because of this lack of understanding and interest, scoffed at me. Patronizing comments like "So, you plan to make money online, as a coach, from your home or traveling wherever you want?" This was coming from a woman who spent her whole life paving the way for us, I realize that. She worked in the advertising industry in NYC surrounded by men. She had owned her own agency and now in retirement was looking at me saying, "Please, YOU believe that's the way it works? HAH!"
This mentor was skeptical about my business from the start, she posed unrelated questions like "I wonder what your mother would think of that?" or "Of course you sold out in three days, you were only selling 17 tickets." 
I had just sold out my very first live offering. A six-course pairing dinner for 17 women that married my love of good food and my love of life coaching. I had just let myself be seen in a big way and I was proud of that. She didn't see my accomplishment or encourage me in any way. 
How was she going to mentor me if she wasn't open to what I was doing and what did what my mom think have to do with learning how to market my business? 
In my gut, I knew I should have excused myself right then and there but against my better judgment and everything my body was telling me, in a moment of trying to please in a way that didn't seem rude, I stayed.

Credit: Nicole Gelinas/Kim Reilly/Kerry Spencer/Kim Reilly

I spent an hour in a small room and left feeling small and diminished in my accomplishments and what I had to offer as a coach.  
If I had been the least bit more fragile at the moment, it would have been enough to make me quit. 
Now don't get me wrong, I can take some criticism or find ways to deal with people who might act like haters, don't understand my business or aren't into what I am doing, but a "mentor"? Someone who is supposed to teach, give constructive criticism, show the way, an experienced, and trusted advisor? 
After my initial feeling of being deflated and hurt, I got ANGRY. I could feel my blood boiling inside. I was angry with every thread of my being, something I hadn't felt in a very long time, if ever. I wasn't hurt anymore that she didn't get me, I was angry that I just took this little fragile egg of a business idea that takes so much of who I am and handed it to hands ready to crush it into little pieces or look me right in the eye and drop it on a hard floor. I was angry I was so open and trusted someone I didn't know with my fledgling business. It felt so personal and vulnerable. I was angry I walked in there putting her up on a pedestal like SHE had all the answers and I knew nothing.
I took that anger and turned it into fuel. Fuel that is now part of my "why", a touchstone I can return to every time I feel I am getting thrown off track. 
So this is my why- I do this work because I want you to have a safe space to get clear about what you do, a place to cultivate confidence in your business and your unique brand. Safe landings here in the nest before you go out and slay. 
I suppose after processing the myriad of feelings I have felt since that day, even though it was an unpleasant experience, I should write her a thank you letter and say, Thank you for the fuel."
Turn your tormentor into a mentor. Don't believe someone else has all the expertise and answers. Develop trust in yourself. You see, the world needs me and the world needs YOU and your gifts and unique talents, even if someone doesn't get it.

More About Nicole

Credit: Kim Reilly/Studio K Photography

Nicole Gelinas is a life coach for female entrepreneurs looking to authentically connect with their tribe, build confidence and make more money. Build a brand, not just a business. More at or email Nicole at

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