by Jen Blandos
When people talk to me, meet me, or come across me virtually - I come across as confident, and a girl who's got her s### together. Guess what? I don't - well not all the time. When I first started in business, I was always asking myself "Am I good enough?", "Is this company's product better than mine?", "Why me over them?", "This person must be smarter than me..." Then when I had kids - woah that was amplified like 1,000X. Having kids and trying to run a business, that's like three businesses right there and the “mum guilt” - I felt it often. Sadly, I missed a lot of my kids growing up because I was always working – two kids and I never had more than two weeks of maternity leave for either of them. In 2009, when I had my daughter and we were in the throes of a recession, a client insisted to meet me to discuss their long-term programme. I was scared of losing the business in a recession, so two weeks after having a C-section, I was in the office.
I was doing research recently about imposter syndrome and I read that 60% of women often put off creating a business because they don't feel they're the kind of person to run one. Even more surprising is that 55% of female entrepreneurs will give a discount on their prices before the client even asks! ...just because they have an internal voice that doubts their abilities!
Why do we do this to ourselves?!
I was speaking with a friend who sits on the board of a large Dubai-based company the other day about the differences between men and women and why they don’t have more women in senior positions – he said when he does an interview the man will walk in and say “I single-handedly turned around the business by introducing this product or this service,” whereas a woman would say “I was part of the team that helped to turn around the business.” He simply said to me, “you girls need to own it, shout from the roof tops because often you’re much better than the guys being interviewed, but you don’t show it.”
I don’t have the “mind monkeys” as much as I used to. When I feel them creep up, I often keep repeating to myself – “these are just thoughts and feelings – not facts” When I look at the “facts” I’m able to see that actually I am pretty darn good at what I do.
Last week my 11-year old daughter came in for a chat when I was frantically typing away at a proposal under a deadline. She said to me, “you know I used to feel sad when I was little that you were always working, but now I am so proud of you. I hope one day I can set up a business and be a boss lady like you!” I shed a few tears, but at that point I realised that we are too darn hard on ourselves. We are doing the very best that we can, and we should be proud of our achievements and know that we are most definitely good enough.