Being a trailblazing woman sounds fun and exciting. And it truly is. But it's not easy either.
We pride ourselves with being strong, gutsy. And we are. But the most gutsy of moves usually involve weakness...being vulnerable means having the guts to be ourselves.
We asked you to share with us anonymously: What keeps you up at night? Below is what you told us.
"Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity and change" - Brené Brown
#1 Money + Confidence
I left corporate America nearly three years ago to become an entrepreneur.
In my twenties, I worked my way up from an entry-level position making $21,000 in salary to $96,000 when I left. I had paid off all my debt and lived freely, without money troubles. Without stress, I would visit nice restaurants, buy rounds of drinks for friends and take cabs at night. That all changed when I ventured out on my own.
I crave the feeling of purchasing a new outfit and a guilt-free travel adventure. I'm extremely tired of being the "broke entrepreneur". While I do have faith that I'll "make it," it's challenging to maintain the confidence. Sometimes it eats at me and I pretend I can afford things when I can't or that it doesn't bother me. Also, being single doesn't help. If I had money to my name, I could share my gifts more freely.
I look forward to the day when I hit my tipping point and everything changes. Cheers to that! It's soon and I will share whatever I receive with others.
#2 My Job
I'm a software engineer at a small company that's gaining popularity. It's no longer a "startup" because we were purchased, but it still feels like one.
I’m terrified of my job. For no real good reason. I work hard every single day to push out excellent code and make myself someone people can rely on. I often work 7 days a week, and sometimes don’t even sleep at night because I’m working.
I know I’m doing a good job. I make sure to have 1-on-1s with various managers in the company regularly to ask about how I’m doing and what I can do to improve, and they never tell me anything. I don’t know if it’s the lack of feedback, or impostor syndrome, or what, but I constantly feel like I haven’t done enough. I keep thinking that I should leave the company so that I can have (for lack of a better term) a life, but I know that I’ll just end up working this much wherever I end up. I have anxiety and panic attacks sometimes on my way into the office. I work, I go home, and I go to bed. I moved to NYC without knowing anyone but a handful of coworkers, so it’s not like I have friends or family to keep me distracted.
That all being said, I’m getting better. I don’t bring my laptop home anymore so that I can force myself to have a break. I’ve been hopping around trying to find a church I can connect with. I’ve gone on a few dates. Though work has been keeping me up at night and is always in the back of my mind, I’m trying to get better at not being stressed out about it. It’s so hard though. I miss my parents and my sister and my family. All I can really do is pray that it’ll be better, drink some calming tea, and hope that it actually gets to be the happy place I thought it would be. I just want to have someone hug me and say that it’ll be alright.
And now that I’m more aware that I’m doing this to myself, the question is there: am I working to distract myself from loneliness? Or is my loneliness distracting me from my work?
#3 My Worst Enemy
I'm a founder. I left finance 2 years ago.
I'd consider myself very put together. But sometimes this entrepreneurial journey wears on me so much...to a point I even feel like a fraud for calling myself a founder. I feel like I am working so hard to constantly sell the vision to myself, to others.
On one day, everyone (including myself) is SO bought into it. I think I am killing it. And then the next day without even a warning the façade just explodes and the world comes crumbling down. On those days, nothing will resonate. Even if I get the most amazing feedback from customers, it just rolls off me...and I seem like a frazzled wreck in super basic day-to-day conversations that have nothing to do with work. Of course, I then beat myself up even more "how can someone like you be trusted with leading a company??"
Sometimes I think this roller coaster ride happens because as founders we need to be so unsustainably(!) immune to poking of holes that it's normal for our worlds to implode every now and then...or maybe it indeed is me? Am I truly a bad founder for not being able to maintain this world?? I don't know.
Right now, I am just very tired and hope tomorrow will be a better day.
I will make it a better day.
Thank you to the women who shared their stories. We discovered a lot of ourselves in you...
"Empathy’s the antidote to shame. The two most powerful words when we’re in struggle: me too." - Brené Brown
Did you identify with these stories? Which one did you identify with the most?
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