Hey friend! Welcome back! If you’re new here let me just give you a quick rundown of who I am and what I do! I am a competitive gymnast, gone wedding industry professional, who became an author, and now I am an online branding expert for women in business. To some, this could seem like a whiplash of a career but at the core of it all, it made sense. I love a bigger mission, I love working with women, and I have a knack for attention to detail. The thing is though, within these career moves there was a lot of "identity" wrapped up in the work I was doing.
When you’re a gymnast you eat, breathe, and sleep gymnastics. It’s who you are, what you live for. Even 8 years after the last time I put on a leotard I still identify as a gymnast.
Then when I moved into the wedding industry, it again engulfed my entire being. All of my clothes were bridal-stylist chic. My entire Instagram feed was all about pretty gowns, the people I worked with, and random wedding inspo. I found SO much pride in telling people I was a bridal stylist, even though I was hardly making any money and working myself to the bone.
Isn’t it funny how valuable validation is?
This brings us to the current dilemma. I officially work for myself, I have my dream clients, I’m making 3x more money every month than my highest paid month in the wedding industry, and yet I am having such a hard time finding identity in being an entrepreneur. I have no reason to get dressed in the morning, I don’t talk to anyone other than Jared and the Starbucks barista, I feel equally tired and restless all the time, and truly, I feel guilty. I feel guilty that I spend my days on my laptop at a coffee shop. I feel bad that I’m making really good money and I feel like I’m not working that hard. I tone down my lifestyle when talking to my friends and family because I don’t want them to judge me for how good I have it.
My self-worth has always been wrapped up in my abilities. How hard I could work, and how obedient I could be as a gymnast and employee. Doing work for the satisfaction of other people validated my existence. It felt worth it because it was hard. When a new skill was hard for me and I had to work and work and work at it, it felt right, and euphoric when I made it. When I was exhausted taking my 4th bridal appointment of the day, with blisters on my feet, and no lunch break I felt useful. I felt like my sacrifice was for the greater good, and my existence was beneficial. Even when I was called in on my days off, or when I had to miss my own personal life events because I worked on the weekends, I was OK because it felt good to be needed.
The work I do now is completely natural to me. Even when I educate myself and take workshops, and fine-tune my craft, it’s second nature. It’s easy because my business is built around my expertise and how I want to work. Which is what I craved my entire life. The ability to use my brain at work, to show off what makes me special, to change lives and businesses in the ways I see fit. I have so much to give and I’m out here doing the damn thing, so why can’t I find identity in being the woman who achieved her dreams?
It all just comes down to deep programming, and patterns that I’ve experienced my entire life. We are taught to obey authority, to be good girls and boys so that we can be praised in school, sports, and with our parents. Our entire educational system is designed to produce perfect employees who complete tasks for their paycheck. Much like how we did homework to get the grade. This feeling of selfishness and being self-conscious of my success isn’t abnormal. It’s just going to take a little work to re-train my mind.
Which has prompted a mission to identify me as a woman who achieves her dreams. I love a good project, personal development is my jam, and your girl loves herself some intentional habits and routines, so here we go.
I kind of took on the “fake it till you make it” approach. Even though I didn’t feel like a boss, I wanted to perform tasks that a boss would and in the way that she would do it. In my research, some key success habits were consistent across the board.
Wake up early
Read/consistently educate themselves
Then some habits specifically pertained to my situation. I felt like I lost a bit of my confidence because all I was wearing were sweatpants and messy buns all day every day. I felt extremely isolated like I REALLY miss bullshitting with my coworkers on the daily. I never knew how much I cared about Suzie’s mom, dog, and love life. Then I also felt very exposed in the sense of time and availability. I felt too available to everyone, and prone to being sucked into everyone else’s needs. I habitually think other people’s lives are more important, so I am quick to drop my own work to please someone else.
These are just the things I would identify. Knowing this though, helped me look into success habits that would help.
These habits included:
Getting ready every day
Being social every day
Creating structure & consistency with routines and tasks
Then I went to work to implement these habits into my current work-from-home lifestyle. Which you know, is still in progress, but looks a little like this.
I joined a fitness studio called Jabz. An all-women's kickboxing gym where you do 2 16-round circuits in 50 minutes. This combined my exercising and a bit of social interaction into the same task. I’ve also been making a point to attend the morning classes so I get up earlier.
When I get home I shower, get ready for the day (even if I’m rocking moisturizer and a ponytail) and I wear actual outfits. On that note, I went through and got rid of all my bridal industry clothes and donated them to the staff at local bridal shops in my area. That style felt like a different “me”, and the mentality attached to those clothes didn’t serve me anymore (I also wore them hard for 8 years, it was time). Then I bought some clothes that felt way more like the lifestyle I was living now. Clothes that were comfortable but also made me feel good. Making that physical shift made a huge difference.
I made a challenge to myself to write a blog every day. To have one thing that MUST get done every single day for 30 days. This has added a sense of accountability and has forced me to make time for myself and my business aside from client work.
I do as much work as possible outside of the house. My fiance, Jared works at a restaurant in a shopping complex, so I go to work with him and work in the Starbucks whenever I can. Separating work from home increases my productivity levels immensely.
I make a point to read and/or journal every single day.
These changes have helped, and simply being intentional about shifting back into a place of self-love, growth, and success is a major part of that. There are so many factors in life that are out to get us, to make us small, and to crush our dreams. The enemy doesn’t WANT you to be your best self. There are forces out there trying to hold you back, and you just can’t let them. You have to DECIDE that you want better, and you’re above it, and what’s in store for you is worth the hassle.
We are in this together, and just one step in the right direction can make all the difference.