Research shows that even extremely successful women struggle with self-doubt in the work place.
“I was struck by how often they made the same observation. In the world of work, men walk in feeling entitled, sure everyone knows it and tend to take bigger risks. Women, on the other hand, feel flawed, sure everyone sees it, and tend to hold back.” Forbes Magazine
Her words got me thinking about my dear friend Susan who dreamed of owning a high-end women’s clothing boutique from the time she was old enough to hobble around in her mother’s high heels.
But Susan was born into a family where advanced degrees were the norm. Since she was a people pleaser rather than a risk taker she took the traditional route of going to an Ivy League school, getting a law degree and working ridiculously long hours so that she could become a partner in a prestigious law firm.
Over the years, although Susan acquired an abundance of money, her spiritual meter was running on empty.
By the time she reached her 40th birthday, she had come to grips with the fact that not following her heart was making her sick. She finally made the decision to jump ship and leave corporate life.
Within a few weeks of giving notice, Susan found the perfect space to rent, hired some young female architects to design the store that had been percolating in her brain, and accessed her creative spirit in ways that she hadn’t experienced since childhood.
Susan has an uncanny talent for dressing women in stunning clothes that suit their body type, style, and personality. But her mission goes deeper than that. It includes opening us females up to our inner beauty, accepting our imperfections, and embracing the essence of who we are.
Every time I visit the store, I marvel at her innate ability – how she is able to transform a stressed out, unhappy woman who walks through her door into a smiling and satisfied client by the time she leaves.
Susan listens, connects, and reflects back to the women the best of who they are. They feel heard and understood – which is a rare commodity.
Susan has plenty of naysayers who go out of their way to try to make her feel less than successful. And there are moments when she still experiences the nagging voice of self doubt. But countless times, I’ve witnessed how she picks herself up, acknowledges how blessed she is to be doing work that she loves and returns to the store with a renewed determination to continue growing her baby into a thriving successful retail empire, as well as a sanctuary for healing the female psyche.
As far as I’m concerned, Susan has already won the lottery. She has connected with and listened to her instincts. She is having a profound effect on thousands of womens lives – so much so that some women trek 2 hours to get to her boutique.
So many women could benefit from using Susan as a model and learn not to live out others stories of what your life should be.
Instead- write your own story – and live it.
What are some of the issues you grapple with in writing your own story?
Photo Courtesy of John O’Nolan