In March 2009 I walked in a meeting room at the Travelodge in Ottawa, recognizing a few members of an organization called the GradUit Network, the others were strangers. The GradUit was the first Mastermind group I had ever participated in. I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect, but knew that I would be learning new tools that would change the way I lived my life.
What I wasn’t aware of at that moment was how I would feel like such a fraud, and actually admit it.
You see, up until that day I lived my life with my “cards held very close to my chest”, never allowing anyone to see what my life was really like. I was embarrassed how I had 2 failed relationships – the first a mentally & emotionally abusive relationship – the other a controlling relationship. I was ashamed to admit that I had filed bankruptcy, not once, but twice – because I always said yes to trying to keep my mates happy regardless of the cost. Yes, I chose to become self-employed to try to get some sense of control over my life financially – something I chose for me and my children. Yet I was afraid to admit that I wasn’t really that successful – when compared to others’ standards of success.
Sure I was working hard, working around my kids’ schedules. I was finding new clients by telling everyone I met that I offered bookkeeping services. But what I wasn’t sharing with anyone, was that I was living in subsidized housing, driving a car that was barely getting me where I needed to be and all of that other stuff I mentioned above.
I’m not sure what gave me the courage to admit that I felt like a fraud that day. But I can tell you it was the beginning of accepting myself as a human who made choices based on what I believed, at that time. That day I realized I could change what I believed, and with that I could change how I would choose to live my life. The first step was becoming conscious of what I was thinking. The second step was reframing those thoughts with a positive twist. It’s been alot of work, and something I continue to do today.
Entrepreneurship was a decision I made on purpose. A decision I made because someone told me I couldn’t get paid anymore money because I wasn’t working on a designation. An employer who had limited believes about me. The moment he spoke those words, I knew I had to leave. I knew I could be more, do more and have more. No one was going to keep me down!
I’ve always loved to learn and I still do. I’m like a sponge. When my children were babies, I’d take evening college courses. When I was an employee, I’d work closely with the computer techies and learn everything I could about maintaining computers and networks. And when I became an entrepreneur, I learned everything I possibly could. First out of necessity, second out of curiosity and third because I am a “need to know” kind of gal. That desire to learn continues to serve me well.
Being a member of the GradUit allowed me to learn skills and strategies for changing my beliefs. I learned that I have gifts to share. What is really cool is that as an entrepreneur, not only do I work with entrepreneurs and share my accounting knowledge, I also share the skills and strategies I learned through GradUit.
When I first heard the phrase “Fake it until you make it”, it really didn’t sit well with me. It made me feel like a fraud – and I didn’t want to feel that way. anymore. What I did realize is that I had alot to offer. I realized that my definition of success is not the same as others’, and it doesn’t have to be. But the most important ah ha that I realized is that I matter, even when I felt I had alot of flaws. Understanding that I matter was huge!
Be you and don’t hide, be proud. Show the world who you really are, even with all your querks (if you have any), I do. You have gifts to share it, so share them. And most of all, have fun.
Find yourself a tribe that embraces you and supports you.
What have you learned about yourself as an entrepreneur?