Sunday, February 12, 2017

How my fun side business gave me an Impostor Syndrome Flare-Up

Flare-up. Cue the herpes jokes...or is that just my weird brain?

I started selling lipstick online because I like the product and I thought it would be fun. I have a regular job that is my actual career, that I went to school for. Yet, this random little hobby-job has ripped open some major anxieties that I've kept tamped down for a loong time and it's really made me think.

When I was in high school, I was class president. I was captain of the volleyball team, and editor of the yearbook. Those roles were all really hard for me, and didn't really provide me with the growth they probably could have because I couldn't see beyond the (bad) stress they made me feel. You can't make everyone happy when you're in a leadership role and I always want to make sure that I'm making everyone happy (believe me, I wish I could not care about this). Instead of focusing on my wins, I focused on my failures. I tend to see things in a very literal, black-or-white, right-or-wrong way, so my 18-year-old self took away from these experiences that I wasn't suited for leadership or decision-making. I'm almost 35 now and I still believe that, even if it's hard to admit. It's meant that, at work, I've just let myself stay comfortable and haven't really pushed to try to manage projects or jump into leadership roles as much as I should, and my {Impostor Syndrome} has stayed pretty well hidden.

Then, this lipstick. I love this stuff, so I thought it would be fun to sell it and get a discount on it so I can have all. the. colors. I started a Facebook page and kind of assumed there wouldn't be much interest. But there has been! And a normal person would be excited. But not me. Nope, I'm nervous. Nervous that the wait times to get the lipstick are too long and my friends and family will hate me. Worried that they'll buy the lipstick, hate it, and stop loving me (if my sister is reading this now, she's saying "Oh my god, she's nuts!" - she is not wrong :-)). Worried that I bought too much inventory and won't be able to sell it all and then I just suck at life.

I realized when all these fears came bubbling up that I can deal with it like I did when I was in high school, and just close up shop, since I obviously can't deal with even the smallest amount of stress. Or I can try to learn from it. Because, at the end of the day, this lipstick business is not going to affect to my life. It's not my job. No one is going to hate it. My family's not going to stop loving me for any reason, unless I murdered someone or something. They'd probably still love me even then. Even if I did order too much, I'll eventually use it because having more colors is why I started selling it in the first place.

But you know what is going to affect my life? My real job. My career. And if these anxieties are affecting how I approach my hobby-business, I know they're affecting me at work, even if it's more subconsciously than anything else.

At my job, I really prefer when I do work for another Project Manager. Just do the fun, productive stuff. Leave the decision-making, the tough calls, the money issues, and the potential to get into trouble to someone else. This is a very safe position and it's fine, I guess. Not everyone can or wants to be a leader. But the thing is, I really do want to. I like the fast-paced, busy-ness of managing projects. I get bored very easily and I prefer to always be on the go. But I let the fear of all that stuff I just mentioned hold me back. I hate making mistakes and, when you make them as a Project Manager, they're a lot more visible than when you make them as just a regular employee.
When you were a baby you tried to walk and fell down every time. Were you a walking impostor? Who are you to walk!? You can't even do it! It's absurd! - Kyle Eschenroeder
I'm not 100% sure how to get past this. I like {this article that I found on LifeHacker about overcoming Impostor Syndrome}. I think actually getting my thoughts down is a good first step. But what next? Probably the most important thing is to remember that my family loves me no matter what. That is not actually true of my bosses, so I can't use that one at work :-) But I can keep trying to do a good job at everything I'm doing. I can keep working toward the professional certification that I will be ready for next year. I can kill it at the Board position I just took with a professional group here in San Antonio. After that? We'll see. A few baby steps at a time.

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