I am an Aquarius (my husband and kids are Aries) and I’m a believer in horoscopes. In December 2020 mine said “something life changing will happen in 2021”. Looking back now, it “predicted” that I would start to work outside the home again. (But let’s be clear, raising kids at home for 5 years is the hardest work I will ever do. And, did it really predict that I’d invest in myself or was it like a seed planted that I nurtured?)
Since we were accustomed to one household salary the stipulations for my going-back-to-work-for-the-first-time-in-five-years job were that I’d (one) be in charge of my schedule, (two) have fun and (three) be honing marketable skills. (Since motherhood isn’t considered a skill on a resume.)
Writing email, blog and social media content for myself and my clients is SO fun and I’m able to work it into my schedule. Beautycounter has been so much fun too and again I’m in charge of my schedule and definitely learning skills that will serve me long down the road.
And I feel like I am on the verge of really really big things with my Beautycounter business. So far this year I’ve enjoyed mentoring team members, leading trainings (on social media and email newsletters), being recognized by HQ for my new volume sales, being invited to an exclusive leader retreat and being invited to a leadership training run by HQ (about 200 of us were invited out of 40,000+ consultants).
I’m feeling ready for these big things because I tackled some F.E.A.R.s. – False Evidence Appearing Real that is. Before my kids were born I worked with bloggers (now they’re called influencers) and I helped them organize their blogs, clarify their vision and work professionally with businesses. I co-owned an LLC and put together a conference and got to work with so many amazing women.
But I never focused on growing my own audience or influence.
At the time I said it was because I wanted to be behind the scenes helping other people do it. Truth? I was afraid of what people, not in the world of social media influencing, would think of me. I thought my message (aka me) wasn’t worth sharing.
When my oldest was born I took a few months off and then tried to be a new mom and girl boss and ended up falling asleep on my laptop more nights than not. I decided to step away and be a full-time parent.
I continued to post to Instagram and occasionally blog. Then in a relatively quick amount of time I had some really crappy things happen that would provide false evidence for being afraid of what people thought of me.
A random woman emailed me to say that she had reported me to child protective services for posting a picture of my 8 month old crawling through the legs of our counter stool. Then 10 months later when I was pregnant with my second I overheard some judgemental comments about me from people I didn’t expect to hear it from. And then 11 months after that had a close friend tell me that we couldn’t be friends anymore because I posted a real description of my mental health to social media accompanied by a picture of our family.
Hint: my mental health wasn’t good – perilously low self-esteem and probably depression coupled with (and probably caused by) the sleep deprivation and hormonal imbalances and everything else that comes with early motherhood.
A few months after that last one I quit social media for almost two years. I cut myself off from a lot of people (the pandemic didn’t help that). I was angry more often than I want to admit. Like really angry.
I’m not sure exactly what triggered the change but I decided to focus on mindset work. I leaned in to therapy. I sought out positive messages and mindfulness resources. And I found these two ideas that have forever changed my attitude (or maybe restored my previous confidence).
These two notions fortify me. And it isn’t to say that I don’t care what other people think of me. I definitely do. I am just not letting it stop me from sharing the messages that I want to share. Tell the story that I know to be true. To provide helpful information.
There is a LOT to unpack when it comes to confidence and mindset and False Evidence Appearing Real. Everyone deals with their own unique version of each of these. More often than not our F.E.A.R. based stories are so engrained we don’t even realize they’re stories we can edit or outright delete.
It took a long time and a lot of work for me to be at a place where I know I am the writer of the stories in my head. To analyze the narrative and call it out when it isn’t serving me.
Some of you have known me my entire life, some for decades, some for just a few years, weeks or even days. If you interacted with the Erin who struggled in the last six years I hope you can recognize the improvement in my demeanor. If you’re just getting to know me – yay! I hope we can connect again six years from now and reflect on how much further we’ve grown.