Back to Blog

Breaking the Shame Barrier: Overcoming Entrepreneurial Challenges

podcast Apr 04, 2023

In today’s episode I talk about shame and entrepreneurship. As Occupational Therapists, we are programmed to fix the problem. We are helpers. But being an entrepreneur is not a quick fix and it is not a course with basic steps to follow. Entrepreneurship is much more holistic than that. It requires normalizing and leaning into your shame experience. It requires FAILURE. And if you haven’t embraced your shame experience, I venture to say you are not a true entrepreneur.

Author Brene Brown studied and wrote about shame. What is shame? She describes shame as an intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed, and because we are flawed, we are not worthy of love or belonging. I am sure many of us have felt a sense of shame in our personal lives, so why would it be different in our professional lives?

When I think about shame and entrepreneurship, there are a few key points I want to share.

So let’s get right to it!


As I mentioned before, entrepreneurship is not a course. It does not have a step by step, quick fix guide. You will have failure, and for many, with that sense of failing comes a feeling of shame. But it is crucial we normalize failure. There is nothing wrong with failure!

We should not feel shame when we feel we are falling behind, or need help. Need to ask questions. That is all a part of the process. If you missed it, go back to the episode where I chatted about sales pitch failures. That will give you some reassurance!

There is resilience from failing. I had a friend who started a product-based business. I found out from her that she was expecting to be in debt when starting her business, and would not be profitable for 3-5 years! Her business went on to be extremely successful, which is so exciting. But think about that– taking YEARS to be profitable, and that is normal.

When it comes to OT entrepreneurship, I actually don’t know many OT businesses that fail or have debt when they start. Keep this reminder if your back pocket– you are still going. You haven’t failed your business!


So many people share a profile or public appearance of perfection. To the point where we are terrified to make mistakes. Our fear of public failure actually halts us from taking that next step or trying something new, which is what entrepreneurship is all about!

I was told years ago to make a list of my top 5 fails of the month. My hope as you read this is that you will grab yourself a notebook, a post-it, whatever you need, and either write your list of 3-5 failures for the month, or a reminder to yourself to start failing or thinking of these failures. Thinking of your failures helps you lean into them. A reminder that you are TRYING, which is fabulous!

Inversely, this is also your reminder that entrepreneurship is a marathon. Sure, there are some quick wins here and there, but entrepreneurship is a long game.

Side note: I want to support that notion through my programs– the Road To 100K Club and the 100K Club Mastermind, where members are OT’s that want to scale and grow their business without the hustle and bustle, without the overwhelm. I have restructured the programs to support YOU at your pace!


If you are a Brene Brown fan, you may already have this answer. If we are experiencing shame, what is the antidote? Shame lives in darkness. But we need light, and that light is empathy. Consider this your light today. Use it as a reminder for when you are feeling like you are failing as an entrepreneur.

Where else can you find empathy? It is important to find your people. People that can really give you that empathy as an entrepreneur. My OTs Get Paid Facebook group is a great way to find those people and is completely free to join. Keep listening to the podcast–my goal is to always shed light on this journey, as well as provide you with a concrete roadmap of next steps in your marathon that is entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship does not come with a fix-it guide, so lean into your shame experiences and thrive from them!

Remember, entrepreneurship (and life in general) is full of failures and shame experiences. We cannot demand perfection from anyone, especially ourselves! We need to lean into our failures and not feel shame for trying. Find your people and keep them close! Support and empathy brings light to your darkest times and drives out that shameful feeling.

To get the full pep talk, listen to the full episode here