We are being constantly bombarded of late, with gender equality and the new breed of feminism. It seems that never before in history has there been such a rise of leaders in lipstick. With instant news stories pumped out through social media, we are exposed to the apparent immediate fates of female entrepreneurs. As a modern society we are now collectively aware that female role models, are not just bitches in the boardroom.
Is this to our detriment?
Many five and six figure earning women, are arriving at my office under the guise of "I will be successful when..." (insert your own delusional/fear based/self loathing bubble here). The truth is that these women regarded by many as highly successful, still have sleepless nights, anxieties and worries. Here are the top ten therapy secrets you reveal:
1. There's No Glass Ceiling
You shattered that layer long ago. The problem now is that you're constantly seeking the elusive next '10'. You jump hurdles like a walk in the park, you view career barriers as exciting and chase glory like a medal hunter. Normal everyday living makes you break out in hives and you have palpitations at the idea of not doing anything.
It's wonderful that you have superheroes that you look up to but in the distraction of putting your idol on a pedestal, you take the focus from you. What you don't know, is that your favourite biz mentor is not an overnight success, she worked her backside off, never giving up, creating her own image through trial and error. Yet you still wonder why you are not just like them.
3. Wonder Woman Syndrome
You want to do all, be all, and save the world - in a whole day and of course, nobody gets it better than you. You've got Wonder Woman Syndrome. It's a modern day and age thing of course; where everything is on go-faster and the upload-now button is all too readily available but Lady, you're not a machine, just STOP.
4. Addicted to the Limelight
It's not even that all of you had severed emotional bonds with your parents, or traumatic life events that you survived, yet somehow you seek praise and approval immediately. It must come through a like or a comment on your Facebook post, and you're constantly checking to count how many RT's and Favourites that your tweet received. With your logic mind you know that it's not real validation but you in a world of instant, which includes gratification too.
5. You're Actually Broke
Last month you made 5 figures but due to meet that desire and expectation to invest in yourself and your business, you're now flat out broke. You know you're shit hot at what you do and the numbers reflect this but when you're back to zero, although it stings, it somehow it provides fuel to light your fire. Being broke is temporary and a pain in the ass.
6. Fraud Complex
In big sweeping gestures and proud moments, you share your business miracles and accomplishments, yet when everyday life gets in the way, you can't help but feel like a fraud as your life isn't quite like Richard Branson. There's no shame that your life isn't one of a movie star 365 days of the year, it doesn't make you a fraud and we'd love it if you shared more of the real you too.
7. You're Not Living
You're so caught up in the emotional drama that success brings that you're forgetting to breathe, never mind live a life that brings you any sort of joy. It's not that you don't want that; you sometimes go to great lengths to actually schedule in time off, or doing anything that doesn't involve work, yet somehow the idea of YOU is no longer important.
8. Burn Out
About every two to three months, it is too common that the female entrepreneur crashes and burns. We are after all the only work force, to engage in 80 hours of blood sweat and tears to avoid a 40 hour 9 til 5 job. Women in business who are determined to make it whatever it takes, also find themselves waking up in the middle of the night with their best idea ever, and then finding that they need to overload on sugar and caffeine to combat tiredness and exhaustion. Hello burn out.
9. Role Confusion
You remember a story you once told yourself, of being swept up and taking care of. You saw yourself as a mother and a housewife but now that you're the main breadwinner, working late and utterly exhausted, you no longer know your own place in your own home; you've gotten confused about your role. Even if you do, you can barely look your spouse and children in the eye out of plain old guilt.
10. Ivory Tower Isolation
You feel that you've made your bed and therefore must lie in it. At whatever cost. It's not like you're doing lunches every day, spending your hard earned money, or even putting your feet up. In fact you're most often found at your laptop, researching, writing, engaging in client work and are feeling lonely and isolated in the process.
Your call to action: I'd love to hear about your own stories, what is your biggest challenge of being a woman in business? If you can relate to any of these therapy problems, how did you personally overcome them?