Whilst getting ready to launch The M Word, someone asked me the following question:
‘What qualifies you to do this?’.
Now I know (with hindsight) that the person asking was genuinely interested and wanted to know how I was able to change direction, but the question threw me. In fact it threw me hard against a brick wall and winded me … then kicked my shins for good measure as it walked away. In the blink of an eye, I went from ‘wahoo, I’m excited and can to do this’, to ‘who the hell do I think I am and what the hell am I doing?’.
Of course, I brooded over this for a few days but then realised it wasn’t the person who had asked me this question who had made me feel like this … it was my good ‘friend’ Mistress Fear who was to blame … and this time she had brought along her buddy ‘Imposter Syndrome’ for good measure.
I mean. Who was I to launch a coaching business, create a product and start a movement? Who was I to think that I could help women navigate the sometimes hellish journey of the menopause and change the way society views it? Who was I to think I could make a difference?
The annoying thing is, is that I KNOW I can do this. I know I have the right experience, skills, knowledge and I know I can run a business. But maybe even more important that that … I UNDERSTAND how the menopause can make you feel both physically and emotionally. For over four years I’ve been dealing with brain fog, hot flushes, bone ache, chronic anxiety, dry skin and poor word recall along with feeling lost, wrung out and fed up to name but a few. Not only do I understand it. I’ve LIVED it, and still am.
I have to admit I was in denial for a while, but I finally took my head out of the sand when the results of a blood test came back and confirmed, without a shadow of a doubt, that I was indeed in the throes of the menopause. Dazed and confused, I looked for help and advice but found very little so decided I needed to develop my own coping mechanisms – tools and strategies if you will, to get me through this tricky time.
Since then I’ve spoken to many women in the name of research, listened to friends who are going through the same, studied hard, learnt coaching techniques, participated in workshops and online learning, read or listened to sooo many books, consulted with other practitioners, taken supplements and changed my nutrition …
Fast forward to the present day and I’ve created The M Word and Fan Fatale to help other women navigate their menopause so they don’t have to feel alone, like I did. But Mistress Fear doesn’t play nicely or by the rules. She doesn’t care about my reasons for doing this or my long list of skills and life experience … she just throws a temper tantrum if she feels I’m ignoring her and shouts really loudly if she feels I’m not letting her have her say. She behaves like a petulant teenager a lot of the time and quite frankly, I’ve had enough.
I decided the best way to deal with this Imposter Syndrome feeling was to write a blog post about it and confront Mistress Fear head on. She’s already got the hump with me for letting go of her unhelpful comments and is positively seething that I’ve told Imposter Syndrome to ‘do one’.
So the next time someone asks me the question ‘are you qualified?’, will I have a quick freak out & let Mistress Fear do her worst? Probably. But at least I can read this blog and remind myself that I’m frickin’ awesome.