I felt like a fraud

Last year was a big year for me. It was full of change and growth in my business that, up until this point, I had only dreamed about. But with all of the wonderful things happening, I felt like a fraud. Yup, I said that. A fraud.

As an Accountability Coach, I work with my clients to help them stay focused and intentional in their business. The first activities we work through together are meant to give them the tools they need to:

  1. Laser focus in on what they want out of their business, thereby allowing them to
  2. Identify what their business will and will not do, so that
  3. They can begin saying YES or NO with intention to the many things that pop up and can keep us from staying focused when we need too.

You see, last year I was given the opportunities to see many of my dreams realized, and, while they were all opportunities that had passed (what I like to call) the ‘What my business does and doesn’t do Test’ AND aligned with my life goals, I forgot the second set of activities I work with my clients on  ➔ getting real about my schedule.

My clients are busy, multipassionate Mompreneurs that dream big, but have limited time to work on realizing those dreams. Between building their fempire, raising their kiddos and everything else that us women have vying for our time, the need to be intentional, focused and real about their schedules is paramount.

It’s okay to be a dreamer (and I say dream big), but, as business owners, we also have to be doers. Thus, we have to know what time we have to dedicate to working on and accomplishing the dreams and goals we have, block off and protect the time we need to do that, and then set realistic deadlines accordingly so we aren’t just setting ourselves up for defeat. This is what getting real about your schedule truly means.

balance fraud imposter syndrome
I keep this on my desk each day to remind myself of where I was.

And that’s where I was falling short. I found myself burnt out and reliving the nausea that accompanied my ulcer as a teenager mixed in with the anxiety from my postpartum depression that I thought I had kicked to the curb earlier that year. I should’ve been looking at both of these things in the rear view mirror, and yet here I was…NOT.

That’s when the feelings of fraud set in, and, let me tell you, they didn’t help.

In addition to feeling like a complete fraud, I was light headed, sick to my stomach and scared to leave my house. I felt guilty that I had let people down. I felt like a complete failure for not being able to juggle it all and burning out.

And I allowed myself to go through the process of truly feeling those feelings. I allowed them to wash over me and soak in; deep to my core. If there’s one thing I learned from going through postpartum depression, it’s that you have to feel the feelings head on. You can’t avoid them; only go through them. Once you’ve done that, you can begin to pick up the pieces and move forward…so that’s what I did.

fraud imposter syndrome balance
This is my quote for the year stuck to the wall above my desk.

Slowly, with the support of those closest to me, medication and time, I began to feel more and more like myself again. But it wasn’t easy. I am a self-professed recovering workaholic, and, in order to get better, I needed to step back and say NO to wonderful opportunities for my business. I had to clear my schedule to give myself the time it was going to take. It meant risking letting people down in order to heal so I could be there for them in the future.

It WAS NOT easy.

But it forced me to slow down. It made me take a hard look at my schedule vs. my goals. I had to accept that there had been a big shift in my personal life that caused a big shift in my business (funny how that works out), and I had to adjust my deadlines and rejig my plans to accommodate for that shift.

I GOT REAL about my new schedule. I finally started taking that big shift into consideration. Gone were the days of glorifying being busy. I stopped lying to myself about whether or not I was juggling everything with balance and ease. I started saying NO so I could say YES.

And I know I am not the only other Fempire Builder who faces these feelings and situations on repeating cycles. The reality is that we as women have a tendency to take on more and more in an effort to have it all. For some of us, it works and that’s amazing (seriously, if this is you, I commend you and stand in awe. Please teach me).

But for some of us it just leaves us feeling guilty and battling the self-destructive symptoms that come with Imposter Syndrome. And if that’s you, I want you to know that it’s me too. You’re not alone. There are more of us. And I am a safe person to reach out to. No judgment.

If you’re a safe person, consider sharing this with your core tribe and letting them know. How powerful would it be if we were all safe places for fellow Fempire Builders like us?

EDITOR’S NOTE: To learn more about Samantha’s journey through postpartum depression, read her chapter in the #1 International Bestselling book, The Sisterhood Folios: Live Out Loud. Get it here: https://goo.gl/8Xdte7

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Overwhelmed by the transition to entrepreneurship?

I’ve been there. When I left the corporate and small business worlds to start my own business, I didn’t know what I was in for. I saw other women living lives that I wanted to be mine, and wondered, “How are they doing it?” Knowing something had to give, I totally changed the way I’m running and building my business.

As a mother, blogger, mentor, speaker and business owner, I am used to balancing the demands of many roles. It is hard to “do it all,” and I have learned how to adjust to those expectations. Stick with me and you’ll be diving into your business with fresh eyes and a growth-centered mindset faster than you ever imagined!

It all came to a head in the Fall of 2015. With my daughter’s autism diagnosis and my postpartum depression following my son’s birth, my Spring/Summer that year had been pretty rough. I was feeling pretty kicked around — to say the least. As I was crawling out of the dark and twisty places life had cornered me in that year, I knew that everything had changed.

For many reasons, I couldn’t go back to my corporate life. One of the biggest reasons was that my perspective on how I was going to live my life had changed. A shift had happened. My time away from my children was going to be spent doing things that I was passionate about. Doing things that got me pumped about life. In May of 2016, I went out on my own and started my business. It was great. I was finally doing things that had me pumped about my time away from my kids. I had the flexibility to spend more time with them. At the end of the day, I had the energy to work in my household and my marriage.

But, while I was living my passion and excited about my life again, it wasn’t all sunshine and roses. Previously, I was a teacher, a sales professional, marketing leader and client services manager. By setting clear objectives, I succeeded in each role, even though they were in different industries.

But being an entrepreneur was a whole new world. I felt the loneliness. I had self-doubt. I didn’t know where to start…and I wasn’t the only one in this boat.

Whether I’m out speaking to a room full of female entrepreneurs or leading a workshop, one of the things that I hear over and over again from these amazing women is how great it is to be out from behind their desks and surrounded by a group of like-minded women. And as our conversation continues, it becomes clear that they are looking for a tribe of women that they can connect and collaborate with regularly in an environment that is welcoming, encouraging and safe enough to let their walls down and share. I needed a community like this too. One that encourages fellow members as they conquer fears, overcome obstacles and achieve their dreams. A tribe that leaves me with a new comfort level and the confidence I’m craving to expand my growth and limits — both personally and professionally.

And most importantly, I wanted a place that would offer me more than inspiration. One that would give me the actionable advice, education and mentorship, support and accountability that we all need.

And from these conversations and my own needs, Fempire Builders was born.

You see, it’s not just me. And it’s not just you. We are not alone. And when we come together, it’s a powerful thing. With the Fempire Builders community supporting me and holding me accountable, I have experienced the business growth that previously I had only dreamed about.

Just as it has been for other Fempire Builders, it will be the same for you, too. Wait and see!