Stepping into the Light
This one, I wrote at the beginning of the year, but haven't had the courage to post until now. I've been sitting on these same emotions for half the year now, just another thing to deal with on my pages-long "to do" list. I've been giving sneak peeks about this topic to some of the most important people in my life, and I'm realizing that it's not just the entrepreneur's story here, it's so many people's story. Any of us that reach beyond our comfort zone, we're all susceptible to self-doubt. And it's OK. So, the courage comes now, after many, many long walks on the beach with our puppy, and many more joyful moments spent with those that I love. Grounded (in all ways) for the moment, here (finally) is another few words from me...
The past 3 months been a rollercoaster of emotions for me. My startup ethical fashion business has been gathering steam and I’ve found myself suddenly being recognized for several awards. In September, I flew to Toronto to join an impressive roster of business leaders, politicians, educators and changemakers at the Royal Canadian Yacht Club for Canada’s Clean50 Award Summit. The day was filled with inspirational presentations by the award winners, brainstorming work sessions, and a celebration dinner recognizing 50 Honourees selected from a pool of 600 nominees – individuals and small teams who have done the most to advance the cause of sustainability and clean capitalism in Canada over the past 2 years.
I am so honoured and grateful to be one of Canada’s Clean50 Honourees for 2018. It is both a thrilling and humbling experience to be named among so many achievers from such a broad array of backgrounds, all of whom are passionately committed to the same values of environmental protection and sustainability for the future.
When the announcement came, I was slammed with feelings of excitement… and Fear. What if there’s been a mistake? What if they find out I wasn’t supposed to be on this list? What if I am supposed to be on the list, but I make a complete mess out of the whole affair and end up embarrassing myself and wasting the whole opportunity? What if this is my one and only shot at being recognized for my work and then that’s it – the end?
I didn’t recognize it as Imposter Syndrome at the time. I was too overwhelmed with trying to be “rational” about the whole thing. I thought I was being balanced and responsible, approaching all of this with a level head, covering all angles… so to speak. But really, I was working myself into an absolute mental lather, and the self-doubt and internal questioning was debilitating.
Thankfully, I’ve built an amazing team and have found incredible mentors to support me. When I reached out for advice, their voices helped ground me and provide some much-needed perspective on this whole business of garnering (and graciously accepting) external validation. After our conversations, I felt relieved – I released the pressure that I had put on myself because of this award and was able to enjoy it a little bit. But I also felt ashamed and more than a little foolish. Why, as a grown woman, did I still need to be reminded how to receive a compliment? Why, after all the work I’ve put into building my business, when the spotlight shines on me, why do I still want to shrink from its glare, rather than step with confidence into that space which I have earned and is rightfully mine?
One month later, I was named a Finalist for Green Business of the Year in my local Chamber of Commerce Hats Off to Excellence Awards. I sat in the ballroom among the business leaders of my community, feeling proud, but also wanting to run away and hide.
Another month later, I was named a Startup Business Finalist for the national Mompreneur Awards and will be flying off again to Toronto in a couple of weeks to celebrate with other women business owners from across the country at the national conference. And just yesterday, I received notification that I’ve been nominated for the RBC Women of Influence Award. Again, I’m overwhelmed with gratitude. These are all incredible blessings for which I feel incredibly humbled, thankful and honoured.
As I sat on the video conference call with the other Mompreneur Finalists, I listened as we each introduced ourselves and spoke about our businesses. I was struck by how many of us admitted to being “shy” and had difficulty really owning this all this attention. After that call, I looked up the meaning of Imposter Syndrome, and recognized every one of its symptoms. So frustratingly common for women, it’s something that has plagued me for as long as I can remember. I was an A-student all through school, I have a wall of diplomas, medals, certificates and media clippings from activities, academics and jobs throughout my life, and now with my business. And yet, I push back the light of attention whenever it finds me.
While it’s comforting to know that I’m not alone in my thoughts and feelings about my accomplishments. And it’s nice to know that these feelings can be explained in a nice, tidy package with an official title, like Imposter Syndrome. I recognize that holding on to this way of being does not serve me, it does not serve my business, and it does not serve my purpose in life whatsoever.
In choosing to write about this, I’m making it a priority to get comfortable with and embrace my achievements. As a mother and a social entrepreneur, my purpose in life is to help create a better tomorrow. I want my values to be seen and voice to be heard, and I know that to have the kind of impact that I hope for, I need to stand in the light when it so graces me, so that the moment to spark change – in some way, somewhere, in someone – isn’t lost. It’s too important to lose that moment, that opportunity, because of fear.
Goodbye, shrinking violet. Hello, changemaker.
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This past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of emotions. I was named a Top Finalist for The 2018 Mompreneur Awards and will be flying off to Toronto for the National Mompreneurs® Conference at the beginning of March. This is such an incredible honour and I'm thrilled to be moving into this next and final stage of the selection process.
This year, over 1200 women were nominated or registered for the award, and 205 entrants advanced. After accumulating points based on a public voting stage from over 90,000 public voters and 30,000 supporters and impression ratings from a selection committee, 23 Top Finalists were chosen from all across Canada. (Read more...)
Canada's Annual Clean50 Awards have just been announced and we are so proud that our Founder & CEO, Monique Parker, has been named to the 2018 list of Clean50 Honourees for her work in sustainable fashion.
“Canada’s Clean50 Awards are announced annually by Delta Management Group and the Clean50 organization to recognize those 50 individuals or small teams, from 16 different categories, who have done the most to advance the cause of sustainability and clean capitalism in Canada over the past 2 years,” says Gavin Pitchford, CEO, Delta Management Group, who steward the awards. (Read more...)