Look At Me In My Big Girl Pants

It’s January 1 and I’m officially an entrepreneur.

And in all honesty, I’m not the least bit scared.

Not because I’m some brave, bold, card-carrying member of the girl-power club. Quite the opposite, in fact. I’m not scared simply because when I roll over and wake up in the morning, I don’t feel nervous or anxious or the least bit jittery.

I feel free.

You see, somewhere during my awkward years of being an insecure young teenager, I developed an insatiable need to please other people. For the next 20 years of my life, I put my essential self aside and made the majority of my life and career decisions through my social self—the part of me that learned to value the things that were valued by the people around me. 

And I was good at it. I was very good at being who everyone else wanted me to be.  

I performed at the highest academic and professional levels for one reason: So everyone would be proud of me. However, despite the trappings of success I accumulated around me, I wasn’t happy. Everyone else was happy, but I was exhausted—mentally, physically and emotionally bone-tired.     

It wasn’t sustainable. I couldn’t wear the mask or keep up the charades any longer.  After a full year of watching Oprah re-runs and devouring every self-help book in sight, I figured out what my own definition of success looked like.  

Imagine that!   

Soon after, I decided to take control of my life, take control of my ambitions and take control of The Mom Complex, the company I gave birth to as a division of an ad agency three years earlier.   

So, I put on my big girl pants and bought the company. Bought it. Ha. Me!  Crazytown.   

Owning my own company was never part of the plan. It wasn’t something I imagined I’d ever do. But maybe that’s because I was so busy doing what everyone else wanted me to do.   

Everyone seems to think it should be scary. I don’t find it scary.   

Scary was constantly evaluating my success and self-worth through the eyes of other people. 

Scary was beating myself up for not achieving the ridiculously unachievable goals I set for myself.  

Scary was doubting I could ever do this, simply because people around me didn’t want me to do it.

For me, taking an entrepreneurial leap and running my own company isn’t scary, it’s liberating.

My newfound freedom allows me to say things like: 

  •  I’m a CEO and growth is not my goal. I want to do good work for good clients, and then I want to go home and see my family. 
  • I don’t care about size or scale, I care about impact. I want to make the lives of moms easier and that’s the currency that’s most meaningful to me.
  • I don’t have a 3-5 year vision for The Mom Complex. I’m tired of living in the future and missing the moments I’m currently experiencing.

Right now, in this moment, I’m doing exactly what I want to do and it’s the best job in the world.  

The other day someone asked me if owning and running my own company “keeps me up at night.”

Nope. I’ve never slept better in my entire life. I’m finally getting back to being me. And being me feels a whole lot like being free.


Join the discussion and tell us your opinion.

Julie Nealereply

I just discovered you and feel like I found a kindred spirit! Love your Ted talk and blog articles I have begun reading. I am a mom of two boys and feel I am on a mothers quest to become the best parent I can be, make a difference in the world using my unique gifts and figure out how to invest in and nurture myself to make those things possible! I would absolutely love an opportunity to talk with you about my desire to start a website, blog, podcast and coaching practice around these concepts. And, once I get my podcast up and running, would love to interview you. Are you open to talking? Is this something you would typically charge for? Your story is an inspiration! Hope to connect soon.

Katherine Wintschreply
– In reply to: Julie Neale

Hello Julie – Thank you so much for your kind words. I love a kindred spirit! I’m so pleased that you’re finding meaning in what I’m writing. It can be an isolating experience, so hearing that it’s working makes all the difference in the world to me! I’ll reach out separately regarding finding time to chat. Have a wonderful day.

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