The Superwoman MYTH

A couple of weeks ago I was chatting to a business coach and I commented that I sometimes get the impression that people are a little intimidated by me. Quite honestly, this kinda makes me scratch my head a bit. The central pillar of this blog is honesty – so I’ve told you all kinds of crazy stories of cakes falling over (OMG that sickening THUD in the back of the car), of crashing into client’s cars after a delivery (sad but true), of times when I felt like I simply COULD NOT go on because I was worried about money or just plain exhausted. I’ve told you how I emotionally eat (which is why I cannot allow junk food into my house for fear I will vacuum it up in an emotional shitstorm), how there were many times when I simply wanted to yell, ‘FUCK IT’ on this whole cake business thing and go back to being a chef or hide under the covers and have my kids throw crackers at me.

I’ve also been brutally honest about feeling like I’m a shitty Mom sometimes, about screwing stuff up (hello there $17k tax bill, I’m looking at you) and about all kinds of weird and wonderful stuff which went on over the course of my life and business. So with all that, I don’t get how people find me intimidating. Okay sure in real life I’m 6 foot tall, kinda loud, and I’m not afraid to call a spade a dirty shovel. But online? How can you be intimidated by someone online who you can’t see or hear?

And then… I had a moment where the penny dropped and I finally understood.

In all my teaching and writing, I’ve also told you that I DO stuff – I’ve raised triplets, lost and maintained a massive weight loss, birthed, raised then sold a cake business, birthed and raised a blog, taught all over the world, wrote a book, launched a podcast and I can eat a whole package of Oreos in one sitting (OMG amazing right?! I am SO TALENTED). In truth, I’ve got some pretty cool stuff to be proud of and grateful for (and gratitude is a daily practise for me.)

So if you were reading all that list of stuff I’ve done – it’s an incomplete list and still, it’s a lot. Shit, if I’m honest, even I’m kinda impressed with myself. And EVEN IF I tell you I pee and sleep and eat just like the rest of you, I’m guessing all you see is the achievement stuff and you kinda forget about all my ugly crying stories and stories of exploding bottom tiers (of cakes and babies.) You just look at what I do and think, “Yeah, that’s awesome for her – but there’s no way I’d be able to do all that.” In your head, you’ve turned me into a Superwoman. Truth is, you’re only seeing what you want to see – even though I always aim to show you BOTH the shiny side and the dull side. 

Worse, you’re comparing yourself to my shiny side (or the shiny side of other women you admire.)

I get so many emails from courageous, incredible women who are making their business start or grow and they too have families that need them, medical issues which slow them down, money concerns and unsupportive partners and yet still, they are DOING IT. Opening businesses. Learning to price. Standing up to their cousin who wants a discount. Learning to cover a cake with fondant when it scares them to even touch the stuff.

Superwoman does not exist, except in comics and movies. EACH AND EVERY ONE OF US can do a lot and be a Superwoman if we want – no matter how clueless we feel, how dirty our yoga pants are, or how much we are not-so-secretly jealous of those women who nail Pinterest recipes every.single.time. Every day, we get up, we get stuff done, we try to move ourselves forward towards the dreams we’ve got and the plans we’ve made…that’s what turns ordinary women into Superwomen.

If you find me intimidating, you shouldn’t (plus also, I’m a very emotional marshmallow who is more likely to hug you than overpower you.)  The secret to my success is that I just keep on doing stuff. Even when it’s hard, when I’m tired, when I’m worried, when life gets in the way… every day my aim is only ever to move forward. Some days those are big leaps, other days, a step so small you blink and you’ll miss it. The point is, I’ve achieved a lot by taking those steps endlessly, one calloused foot in need of a pedicure in front of the other, and repeat, and repeat, and repeat. While doing that, I remind myself that even the shiniest of pennies also have a dull side…and most people only ever show their shiny side.

Today, stop being intimidated by those mythical Superwomen or beating yourself up for not being one. Today and EVERY day, just aim to make forward movement. No cape required.

4 comments on “The Superwoman MYTH

  1. Thanks Michelle for sharing your awesome gift with the world!! I love the wealth of information your blog posts,everything that you have shared has motivated me. You are definitely a bright star in my night sky. You have ignited me to become a more successful baker and havre proved that knowledge is power!! I’m not sure if you have visited Cape Town in South Africa yet, however if you do I will do everything I can to come and meet you!! A thousand thank you’s for sharing your wisdom because I have truly benefited from it.

  2. I love this post!
    People have always projected their most accomplished and best side outwards to gain acceptance and job opportunities etc. Before facebook and instagram (and photoshop, let’s be real here) etc we just didn’t have this constant bombardment of continuous success, so to say.

    I think it was you (if I misremember, it just confirms how much i’ve valued your insights ?), who said in a blog post once, that you should never compare your beginning to someone else’s middle or end.
    I’m paraphrasing here, but we never get to see the whole of something on social media or tv or wherever. We see the success, the shine, the followers, superb skills, recognition, but we rarely see the three failed attempts at business before something took off, sleepless night, financial panics, tears, failures, or the shitload of back-breaking labor and gut-wrenching fear that preceded the success.

    If you really need to compare (and in most cases you shouldn’t) look only at those, who are in the same place in their business as you. Take your rolemodels from those who’ve gotten futher already, but use them as mentors and inspiration, never comparison.

    You inspire, Michelle. Keep rockin’ it! ❤

    1. Thanks for the love Pia – and while I can’t take credit for the quote about comparing oneself to other people’s middle or end, it is a quote I reference often. We spend so much time looking at everyone else’s story instead of appreciating our own.

      Keep on being awesome. 🙂

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