Do you ever feel like a fraud? Girl, you’re not alone! Self-doubt is a huge struggle of mine, and I talk about it all the time, but this post is touching on a wholly new and more profound level of myself. I’ve been feeling hesitant to put this out there because it makes me feel vulnerable and the fact that I even have these thoughts almost feels like confirmation they’re valid.
But, screw it. I know I’m not alone and talking about struggles female entrepreneurs face is precisely what I’m here to do. It’s what I want to do, what I feel compelled to do, and I want to be motivation for other women to overcome their doubts and accomplish their dreams! Though to do this post justice, I need to back up a little bit, like twenty-something-years ago when I was a little girl learning to read. That’s when my negative self-talk started, and to be frank, this is when I felt the dumbest in my life. Imagine nine-year-old me in a classroom with my peers. Palms sweating, stomach cramping, throat constricting, and heart racing, all of this because we were reading aloud in class.
I would try to focus on whoever was reading, but my insecurity would get the best of me, and I’d start reading ahead in an attempt to prepare myself for my part. Still, no amount of preparation was going to stop the stuttering, mispronounced words, or the light giggles from my classmates. Over the years, some teachers took pity on me, and my turns were cut short, others might have thought they were helping me by requiring me to read longer than others.
The embarrassment was agonizing for a young girl who yearned to be perfect. Yes, I really mean perfect. I longed to be smart, funny, kind, talented but felt like I fell short in almost every area.
My parents, who I’m sure at the time thought they were helping their daughter, would say things like, “it’s okay, you’re good at sports,” or “language arts just isn’t your thing,” or “your sisters are good at reading and writing, and you’re better at math, don’t worry about it.” But for me, it reaffirmed I wasn’t smart enough, that I was less than and that I could never be. Eventually, I hardened myself and adopted an “I don’t care” mentality. Laziness became a new thing, and I only tried in the subjects that “interested” me. When really I only put effort into the subjects I believed I was good at.
In my sophomore year of high school, we were learning about poetry, and something about it spoke to my troubled, insecure, angry self, and I aced my final exam. Not one question wrong. When my teacher handed me my test back, she looked me square in the eye and said, “you’ve been selling yourself short all year. I wonder what you could achieve with some effort.”
Now I wish I could tell you this triggered an epiphany and suddenly I was a motivated student who achieved greatness, but sadly I wrote it off as luck. Though to this day her words still pop up in my mind from time to time, and I know she played a vital role to my forward momentum and success.
If you’re wondering what the heck my point is to all these memories from years ago, I promise it is relevant. You see, if you’ve been following me for a while now or if you know me then you know that in 2018 my debut novel was picked up by a publisher and my book is due to be released this year in 2019.
At times the process has been exhilarating, draining, and discouraging. The editing process has opened up so many wounds from my education as a child. Even though I’m receiving constructive criticism, the negative self-talk is rearing its ugly head in full force, and a little girl’s insecurities are poking holes into a woman’s confidence.
They made a mistake.
They’re going to cancel my contract at any moment.
I got lucky.
I’m not smart enough.
I don’t belong in this industry.
They’re going to find out I shouldn’t really be an author.
Everyone will see my writing isn’t good enough.
If I can do it then clearly anyone can.
These are the nasty thoughts playing in my head on a disturbing and consistent loop. I mean come on, I’m a real estate broker! I’ve been in the real estate industry since I was eighteen years old. I started my career off as a broker’s assistant, moving into title I worked at First American Title National Default, progressing to obtaining my real estate license, and then when I was twenty-seven years old, I became a real estate broker.
I own multiple companies with my husband, real estate and building new businesses are what I’m great at, it’s what I know. But an author? What authority do I have publishing anything? This is the crap overflowing in my brain, and I felt alone with my doubts.
Until I started researching and came across the Impostor Syndrome, which was coined in 1978 by doctors Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes, and I realized I’m so not alone.
Many successful people felt this way at some point in their journey. It’s odd the amount of comfort I’ve found in knowing other people struggle with this too, and it’s provided me with a renewed motivation to tackle this writing gig with my head held high.
I know I’m not the most brilliant writer, nor the wittiest, but I don’t care, and I feel like screaming that from a rooftop. Everyone has to start somewhere, and the only way you fail is by never trying at all.
Besides, I’m doing this for the little girl I once was and everyone else who’s ever felt unintelligent. For the little girl who never picked up a book because she didn’t feel smart enough or thought what’s the point, I don’t know most of the words, anyway.
My passion for reading didn’t hit me until I was in my early twenties, when I purchased my first book, Pride & Prejudice, and fell in love with the complex, outspoken, and witty Elizabeth Bennet.
That book changed me.
And now, I want to inspire other young girls, women, really anyone and everyone to break out of the self-limiting box either you crammed yourself into or that you allowed someone else to put you in.
Whatever your dreams or passions are, you can achieve them. Take it from me, a college drop-out, who owns a corporation, runs more than one six-figure business, became a real estate broker in my twenties and who’s going to be a published author.
I’m not saying this to boast, it’s actually extremely uncomfortable to put my private business on blast, but I want you to know that I speak from a place of knowing and understanding. That my husband and I worked our way up from nothing and have achieved greatness together as entrepreneurs for over a decade.
So, if your thoughts continue to be plagued with negativity, I want to challenge you to focus on what you’ve already accomplished, why you do what you do, and stop comparing yourself to friends, family, or even random strangers on Instagram.
You’re on your own beautiful journey, and there are people who need what you have to offer. Don’t allow yourself to get in your own way.