As April Fools’ Day is upon us, I am reminded how I have allowed myself to be fooled for so long. When I was younger, I would see successful, beautiful women that seemed to have it so together and I was fooled that somehow they were just better than me. I believed that because of their upbringing or looks or education that they were able to achieve things and enjoy life in a way that I didn’t have a shot. I worked so hard and kept my nose to the grindstone struggling every day. When you grow up without, you just assume that life will continue on that same path. As I succeeded at work, I felt grateful that I was finding a way out of my financial struggles, but I never realized that I was still being fooled by the reality that I saw before me.
Year after year I would advance in my career, and along the way I found a few strong male mentors that taught me tips on how to get ahead and leap-frog others. I became stronger and more confident in myself and the value that I brought to the workplace. These victories helped me to gain self-confidence, which allowed me to begin to question my reality, and what was actually real.
As an accomplished mother, I began to surround myself with other successful moms and this is where my reality really came crashing down. All of these women that I had put on a pedestal, I began to see that they were all like me. They might not look exactly like me and maybe I didn’t go to the same college that they did or grow up in a beautiful home like they did, but today we sit and talk about the challenges of being a mom and I realize how alike we all are.
Some of my friends are stay-at-home moms, and they discuss how challenging it can be every day to have purpose and feel valuable. I have watched the strongest woman crumble after losing her father and have seen seemingly perfect marriages fall apart and consequently have seen myself transcend the reality that I had held onto for so long.
My reality today is truly real. We are all on the same playing field no matter what it looks like from afar. Regardless of whether a woman is transparent or not, she has struggles; she feels inadequate and insecure and questions her priorities at some time. No one is alone in thinking they are not good enough or pretty enough or strong enough. We all are so much more alike than I had ever realized.
The moment I decided to stop fooling myself and create the reality that we are all entitled to instead of the one that I was limiting myself to, everything changed for me. Most recently I have been advocating for women to empower themselves and through this initiative have opened myself up to new opportunities where I did not have prior experience. Translation, I felt scared again and wondered if I was capable to do these new things that I had never done. Instead of backing down because I felt nervous, I decided to channel my inner Donald Trump.
I had been asked to speak on a live international business network and I knew there was a chance I could be asked a question that I may not be prepared to answer. I thought about how Donald Trump seems to steamroll everything in front of him; right or wrong, he doesn’t miss a beat and was able to be elected President with no political experience. If Donald Trump can be elected President then I can go on a live international business network.
This has become my new mantra. I went on the live show, I was asked a question about international business and did not know the answer, I channeled my inner Donald and I answered a question that I felt was more relevant. The conversation continued seamlessly and the problem was solved just like that.
Deciding to no longer fool yourself, realizing you are in control of your life and you are the only one standing in the way of the future you want is freeing and empowering. I am hoping you will decide today to no longer be fooled. Channel whoever you need to in order to get you over that hump and give yourself a chance to live a life without fear and without boundaries. I promise you it works.