Sarah Doyle, The Better Life Project
I still can’t believe that I am self-employed! If I am honest, I don’t enjoy working for myself as much as you would think. I really don’t buy into the “If you love what you do, you’ll never work a day in your life” idea. The way I see it I have two jobs. On one hand I am a life coach and on the other I am a business owner. I love being a life coach, but I find running a business scary and uncertain and exhausting and relentless.
Nevertheless, over the years I have grown in confidence and become as self-assured as my 15-year-old self-dreamed about but there are still times when it doesn’t feel enough, when I don’t feel enough. I work very hard on my confidence and not just because it’s my job to support women improve their confidence but because I know what would happen if I don’t.
You see, I am not that scared of failure. I have failed enough to appreciate the minute particulars presenting themselves to me as gift wrapped lessons. I am just waiting for the day for someone to notice that I don’t quite belong. Again.
Before I was a life coach and a business owner, I was a project manager in Trinity College working on a job that was actually related to the two degrees I spent a cumulative total of 5 years working for. Funnily those two degrees still didn’t make me feel like any less of a fraud.
It’s funny when you work so long for something only to realise it’s not what you wanted at all. Or that you actually want something completely different! I realised pretty early on in my “first career” that I wanted something different. I wanted a job that gave me goose bumps and that I was in control of.
I worked hard in Trinity. Very hard. I did everything I was supposed to do. I was promoted, I travelled, and I worked with some incredible people. I am almost certain that I could have stayed and carved out a permanent place for myself, but the pull of an unfulfilled ambition became too strong and I simply couldn’t ignore it any longer. It was only when I met my now husband James that I realised working for myself was an option. He encouraged me to turn my passion project into a real life business.
Life coaching is “it” for me. It is my dream job. Sometimes I feel like life coaching was created so I would simply have something to do, the fit is that perfect. But I still have had to work very hard. Constantly reassuring myself “No Sarah, it’s not luck. You worked hard”, “No Sarah, it’s not the universe it’s your unique combination of wisdom and knowledge”, “No Sarah, it’s not good timing. You knocked on the door and asked for this”.
If you feel like a fraud, no amount of accomplishment will ever feel enough. Imposter Syndrome doesn’t derive from a lack of skill, it exists because of a lack of self-belief. I’ve worked in jobs related to my qualifications and I felt like a fraud and I have worked in jobs that I believe align to my true talents and strengths and I still felt like a fraud. You might think that you can’t win, but you can.
The biggest difference between my 2 career stories is that this time around I know how to help myself. This time around I refuse to stand in my own way.