Saturday was my birthday. Every year I try to look back on what I’ve accomplished and what I want to do next. As I enter my late 30’s I want to hit the ground running. Not because I feel I’m out of time (except for maybe making those 40 under 40 lists) but every year I feel more comfortable with myself and my strength. Powerful women can be terrifying to some but I don’t care anymore, the world needs us. Here are a few things that held me back for way too long and my advice for getting out of your own way to reach your goals.
When I entered the financial services industry there was one comment I remembered hearing often. It appears some men didn’t want to talk to a “Misty” about their money. Some women didn’t either. For the longest time I thought that was MY problem. I thought the way around it to become the smartest person in the room when it came to finances. I took every single licensing exam possible. Now I write the questions that go on the exams needed to enter the financial services industry or become a Certified Financial Planner™. Even so, it is still hard to forget how that comment felt.
Deep down I know all of the studying just kept me from getting back out there and meeting with clients. I was afraid EVERYONE felt this way. The thought of more “rejection” was enough to keep me in a job that wasn’t my calling for 10 years. I be working with clients again and helping people. Just because some people still think financial advice is a man’s world there are a whole lot of bad ass women who need some help with their money. A lot of guys are happy to work with a woman too!
Just because one person treats you poorly don’t assume everyone else will too. That is just fear holding us back. They are the ones with the problem and don’t deserve your time to begin with.
When I first started out I would wonder who would want to talk to a 26 year old that didn’t have money about money. It was easier for me to assume that no one would take me seriously than try. Here is the thing, I just never saw any women in my field who were successful at that time. There were no mentors around that I felt similar to. It’s just a difficult industry that typically starts out with high pressure sales jobs and that doesn’t always work well if you want to pay off your student loans. Commission based jobs might work out if you have a wealthy family or someone to support you. If you are on your own with bills to pay it is pretty scary.
My biggest problem was trying to be someone I’m not. Someone told me to pick a stock and be able to talk about it and learn how to play golf. Well, I did take golf lessons but the invitations to play were still few and far between.
One scramble I played in they just joked about my appearance and how I should be driving the beer cart instead. I remember crying later that day. I expected it to be different. Hopefully “business deals” on the course are becoming a thing of the past. It just excludes too many people.
This again was not my problem – its an industry problem. We all need to do a better job including everyone. Now instead of picking a stock and rambling about it until I get the deer in headlights look I ask people questions about their goals and how I can help them get there.
I have two amazing children – a boy and a girl. They watch everything that I do. I remember being told when I was pregnant that whatever I was making now was going to be the most I’d ever make. Instead of saying that was bullshit I just accepted it and though, hmm I guess I’d be ok with that.
Then I came back to work and realized there was no imaginary ceiling on salary or promotions. I returned to more work than I had before and a team who realized all of the things I did. So, I asked for a raise and got it.
I love being a working mom and that is something I am not sure people feel comfortable saying. My kids see me exercise in the morning and they see me on the computer when I work from home. I still travel and sometimes I miss my family like crazy but I enjoy my work and feel like I am helping a lot of people. I have a son who will never say he doesn’t want to talk to a woman about money. Also my daughter has more confidence than anyone I’ve ever met. They have a healthy happy mother and I think that is what children want most. I know that is what I still want for own my parents.
I feel like every year I get more comfortable with who I am. There’s a lot of work left to do like grow this business, get even healthier and find ways to make financial planning accessible to more people. I’m realizing some things I believed about myself simply aren’t true. I told someone the other day I wasn’t good at learning languages but now I’m wondering if that is true or if I just didn’t like it in high school enough to try. So I downloaded an app to learn Spanish. I also applied to take the online test to be on Jeopardy! because I’ve always wanted to add that to my resume. Here’s hoping there is a finance category if I make it! This year I’m leaving fear in the rear view and can’t wait to see all of the great things that will come my way when I’m not afraid to try.