Fat + Successful

Aug 29, 2017

When I started my business nearly 9 years ago, there weren’t many things I knew for certain.

I did know one thing though: Successful women were thin, well groomed, wore heels (even at home) and accessorised with red lipstick and an aura of confidence. Since I was more likely to be seen in birkenstocks than heels, this meant I knew another thing for certain: I was never going to be successful.

I also knew:
+ I couldn’t be the face of my business because I was fat.

+ Nobody would want me to mentor them because I failed at my weight.
+ I couldn’t speak in public because people would judge me for being overweight.
+ I was not worthy of being successful and admired because I was fat.

Now, this wasn’t just a case of low self-esteem.These beliefs had been reinforced over and over again in my fledgling years as an entrepreneur.

One time at a weekend conference, a fellow (and very well known and ‘successful’) entrepreneur bragged to me how she was hiring a stylist for a tv appearance, then looked me up and down and said: “You must find it hard to find clothes.” I was mortified.

Another time, I was having a coffee meeting with a new client at an outdoor café when some random guy drove past and yelled “Fattie!” at me. I wanted to die. 

So I did what I thought was right … I made myself as small as possible. And I don’t mean physically, but emotionally. Mentally. I hid behind my business. I hid behind my website. I kept myself small and unconfident and I let all of these beliefs cloak me and keep me anonymous. I wasn’t a person with an identity; I was a shadowy figure that happened to have a knack for conjuring up designs my clients loved.

Still, it wasn’t enough. I wasn’t a success. And even though I wasn’t putting myself out there and attracting new clients (which would help me with the ‘become a success’ thing) I blamed my weight. That’s why my business wasn’t succeeding.

Because I was fat.

Until one day, I thought ‘eff it’. I could either keep doing what I was doing and hope things got better (the very definition of insanity) or I could change. Again, not physically, but emotionally. Mentally.

I decided:
+ You don’t have to look a certain way to be a BOSS.

+ You don’t have to talk a certain way be a LEADER. 
+ You don’t have to be polished & “profesh” to SUCCEED. 
+ You just gotta do it your way.

And if you want to be eating a pink cookie in your branded headshots, dooo it! 
(scroll down to see my photos)

Speaking of which … I embarked on a mission to be SEEN in my biz. It was like a coming out party. In my latest photo shoot, I channeled my flower power muse Drew Barrymore and rocked it, then went ahead and put the pics on my website, EVERYWHERE. I put my face in my email signature. I spoke at events and hosted webinars. I put myself out there. WAY out there. As I was and … Enter the ultimate plot twist … I became successful anyway.

My weight didn’t – hasn’t – changed. At all. 
Yet I achieved the ultimate wtf moment … I was still successful in my biz. 

Despite, in spite of, my excess weight, the clients kept calling.The work kept rolling in. And in. And in. Until I was the queen of a thriving empire that turned over six figures a year

I couldn’t believe it. I was fat … and my clients loved me anyway.

Want to know why? Because the whole ‘only skinny women are successful’ spiel was bullsh*t. That was simply my inner mean girl being a jerk. That was simply false beliefs running rampant. That was simply NOTHING to do with my worth and value as a person and as a designer.

Today, I’m out and proud: I am not a skinny woman. I am a success.

Those two things have nothing to do with each other, except if I let them. And I refuse to let them anymore. I just don’t care anymore if I get judged – I love me and accept myself, and that’s all that matters.


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