Learning to Overcome Fraudy Feelings

Overcoming self-doubt and having a good mindset has got to be one of the hardest parts of business, at least it is for me. Our success or failure in our business is often an effect of our own mindset. It’s frustrating and annoying when imposter syndrome creeps in before you even start. And then continues to nag from the nosebleed seats. Sometimes I’m pretty sure my biggest enemy is between my two ears. Yet, I am finding success in being intentional in what I do, what I consume, and who I surround myself with. I’m leaning into adjusting my mindset to chase my dreams and overcoming self-doubt.

Signs of Self-Doubt

I was at a bachelorette party two months ago and the universe sent me a little reality check on my mindset blocks. We were all gathered around a table as one of the other guests had brought an Oracle deck. She was doing one card reading for each person. She said to either state your question out loud or internalize it as you chose your card.

It was my turn and my mind focused on my most common fear. “Is making the jump to graphic design the right decision? Could I be successful at it after all my other failed ventures.” I can’t remember the specifics of the card, but what happened next was the crazy part. The bride turned to me and said: “I am also so inspired and in awe of how fearless you are to chase your new ideas and dreams. Constantly trying something new. I think it’s really amazing”

My heart stopped. Did she say “fearless?” She thinks all my crazy ideas are awesome and cool? I took a second and responded without thinking “Oh, I am scared!” 

Over the years I have tried out various business ideas. They were all fun ideas but never landed because my heart wasn’t in them 100%. I would always start them, share them, quit them and get awkward when people would ask about them. Because in my mind I failed.  My brain kept swirling in the comments. I knew there was something that I was meant to do but was hung up on what I considered my past failed attempts and the fact that I didn’t have formal design training. 

That moment at the bachelorette party I realized: the lies we tell ourselves aren’t protecting us. They are holding us back from going for it. And most of the time the stuff we tell ourselves about how others see us, is completely wrong.  To improve our mindset, we have to uncover the lies we tell ourselves. 


Common lies we tell ourselves in self-doubt

LIE: “I’m not an expert, nobody can use what I know.”

TRUTH: You may not be an expert yet but you still know more than others that could use your product or service. And by doing it more,  you will become an expert.


LIE: “I haven’t had a paying client; I must be a fraud.”

TRUTH: Because you haven’t had a paying client doesn’t make you a fraud. Look at how many doctors practice in residency with no “real” paying clients. Nobody thinks they are frauds. You are doing the work. Showing up and putting in the time proves you aren’t a fraud. 


LIE: “This will never make money so I shouldn’t even bother (the market’s saturated).”

TRUTH: There is always enough space for everyone. This is scarcity mindset strong at play. Have you ever looked up something on Amazon and noticed the thousands of options there are? Did you stop to think, gosh there are too many options here? I doubt it. There is someone out there who needs what you do exactly how you do it. 


LIE: “I have a family and work; I have no time to make this move.”

TRUTH: This one is a bit of tough love. Yes, you don’t have as much time but if this is important to you, you will make time. We make time for the things we rank. If you can’t prioritize it, then now might not be the right time for it. 


LIE: “I’m not having the immediate success expected, I must be failing at this.” 

TRUTH: Overnight success does not happen overnight. It takes time, showing up and doing.

Heal Your Heart to Change Your Mindset

As a natural empathic free spirit,  I have always wanted to pursue something creative. Where my day to day includes a studio, painting, creating and designing. Also, if I am being honest, this includes not getting up early in the morning and having to answer to a boss. Because who really wants to do that? 

But I was raised in a low-income house where the goals were to get a “good job” so you can “make a better life for yourself.” My dream and passion to become an artist was quickly changed to going to school for engineering. 

Even though I went for engineering, I didn’t stop pursuing creative endeavors. I took design classes in school, and even worked in the marketing department. You would think I would get the hint that maybe my heart was somewhere else…  But still I thought I was stuck.  I was doomed for engineering for the rest of my life since I had committed my academic career to it.

When the Being Boss podcast started up, I was immediately drawn to the creative entrepreneur mindset. Yet my own self doubt still held me back from taking the leap. 

  • “I’m not talented enough.”
  • “I didn’t go to school for it.” 
  • “The kids in my art classes in high school were so much better.” 

The negative self-talk didn’t stop but neither did the aching desire to be a graphic designer. I would on occasion look up design programs at various online and in-person universities, but would get discouraged with the cost. 

For years I ran from the idea that I could be a graphic designer without formal training. There was something that wouldn’t let my aspirations and motivations get on the same page. But while expecting baby number two, something clicked. I dug in to books, podcasts, and articles. 

It wasn’t until I started therapy that it hit me. My heart was wounded and was in a fight with my mind that was holding me up from chasing my dreams. The vulnerability of putting myself out there as a designer meant that I was putting myself out there to get judged. But if I never really put myself out there then it was easy to say it didn’t work because I didn’t really try. Isn’t it funny how we put up roadblocks that we think are protecting our hearts? When in reality those roadblocks are preventing us from growing. 


Tips to change your mindset and heal self-doubt

Find a community that supports you and lifts you up

A community like Being Boss, positive Facebook groups, masterminds or local boss coffee hangouts. Can’t find one? Make your own group of friends! A group of like minded individuals can help hold you accountable to your ideas. They can also encourage you to have big dreams to go chase them. Not to mention, great cheerleaders when you get down on yourself too! Word of advice, choose groups that are positive and not a bunch of Debby downers. 

Go To Therapy

You guys, I know this is an unusual suggestion for the list but I don’t know why I didn’t do this earlier. I started this for some post-baby issues but it has been the best mindset shift tool for me! I realize this can be an expensive option and not always easily available. But if it’s an option for you it’s totally worth it to help heal your heart. If you can’t do therapy, try journaling to work through your stuff. Old scars and past traumas can be detracting from chasing your goals. Doing the work to figure them out and heal them can up level your mindset 

Protect yourself from negativity

We have all had ‘that friend’ who complains about everything.  When you are around only those people, it rubs off on you. All the work you do on yourself can be completely undone if you only ever hear negativity. This also can apply to social media if negative comments are getting you down. It’s your business and you have the choice to ignore them, not read them or turn them off all together.

Put Your Ass Where Your Heart Is

Putting your ass where your heart is has got to be my new favorite way of saying DO THE WORK! I recently heard this in a group coaching session I was in when asking a question about finding time. Simply put, it means show up. Make your goal, your dream or task a priority. Schedule it, invest in it, whatever you need to do to make sure you are putting in the effort. Having the mindset that you are doing the thing means doing it. 

For me this means scheduling non-negotiable CEO time (that my family is on board with) to work on my graphic design studio. For me I have invested in myself by signing up for a 12 module course that is completely niched to helping graphic designers set up their business for success. By making the time to work on my mental health and healing old wounds, I have been able to fully commit to my dream. This mindset shift has taken some serious time but worth every second. Done is better than perfect and doing the thing is always better than dreaming about the thing.

There is a reason that Mindset is a foundation of Being Boss! Self doubt is no joke and you have to learn to overcome it in order to move your business forward. Staying positive when it gets tough, stopping self-limiting beliefs, and goal setting are key skills to keeping a boss mindset in business.

Hannah O’Rourke is a graphic designer creating clarity and ease for fellow business owners through beautiful design solutions. As the owner of Elem Design Co she loves connecting and supporting other women in small business. You can find Hannah at elemdesignco.us or on Instagram @elemdesignco