Recently, I got to be part of an event I’ll never forget. Over 200 people came to the Broadview Hotel in Toronto for the stnce launch party: a one-of-a-kind event all about financial confidence and female empowerment. And when I say it was a unique event, I mean it. I’ve been to a lot of different launch parties and events in my time, heck I even host my own events, but nothing has had the same feeling as this.
Financial Confidence Means Owning Your Fears & Failures
First off, I’d say 90% of the room was women. This never happens at financial events. You’re lucky if you get 20% women! To see a packed room of women, eager to learn and talk about money made me feel so happy.
Secondly, I was on a panel with Rubina Ahmed-Haq, Kristen Wood and Desirae Odjick and we weren’t just sitting there telling everyone what to do with their money. We wanted to do some #realtalk, so we spoke openly about our worries, failures and fears when it came to money. Not something you’d expect to hear from four women who are fairly successful in finance and business.
But it was so refreshing to be able to talk honestly about these things, because no one really does. Everyone talks about their successes, but people rarely share their fears or failures.
I shared how I constantly struggle with this sense of guilt whenever I spend money. Even if I’ve put that money in a special savings account for a specific purpose, I’ll feel guilty about taking it out and spending it. I used to think my aversion to spending was a good thing. It certainly did help me live well below my means in my 20s. But as I’ve gotten older, I can now see how it’s also held me back and made me associate money with negative feelings, even though it should be looked at as a tool for positivity and growth.
I also shared that when I was working in the corporate world, I would always compare my income to those of my peers. When I’d find out the salary of a friend or co-worker, and more times than not they’d be earning more, I’d feel so embarrassed. It didn’t matter that they had a different degree than me, had different opportunities, or worked in a different field. Because they were my age, I’d look at myself and think “Why aren’t I earning the same as them? Is something wrong with me? Am I not good enough?”
Financial Confidence Means Giving Yourself Permission to Be Proud of How Far You’ve Come
Now that I’m self-employed, I don’t compare myself to those same friends or old colleagues anymore. Instead, I’ve found myself comparing my career to other digital influencers earning 6-figures a month or the FIRE bloggers out there who’ve been able to achieve financial independence in their 30s. Talk about unhealthy!
The fact is, thinking this way and constantly measuring yourself up to others isn’t helpful or productive. It’ll just make you feel sorry for yourself and jealous. And feeling bad feels bad, as redundant as that sounds. It sucks not feeling good enough!
Instead, and this is something I’m constantly reminding myself to do, just think “Eyes on your own paper!” It doesn’t matter what other people are doing. What matters most is what you’re doing! Complaining about how unlucky you are isn’t going to change your luck. And feeling jealous of someone else’s success is ugly and you’re better than that.
All that being said, you probably also need to cut yourself a break and pat yourself on the back. Life is hard. Being smart with your money is hard. Being a good person is hard. But guess what? You’re still standing. You’re still here and doing awesome, and you should be proud of that!
Financial Confidence Means Helping Others Feel Confident Too
Empowering women to feel more confident is a primary goal of stnce. As an ambassador for this initiative spearheaded by EQ Bank, it’s also become my goal. We need to give ourselves permission to feel good and proud of how far we’ve come, and on top of that, help others in their journeys too. As the saying goes, we’re stronger together!
I don’t think I’ve ever shared this on the blog before, but I’m actually part of three different women-only mastermind groups (two online and one in-person). Two of them are with women in the personal finance space, and the other is with women from all different areas such as tech, startups or finance. Being part of these groups has been life changing. They are all about positivity, accountability and just helping each other because we genuinely want to see each other succeed.
That same feeling I get when participating in those mastermind groups is actually the same feeling I got at the stnce launch party. After the panel discussion and Michele Romanow‘s keynote (which was so inspiring!), there was an after-party so everyone could mix and mingle. I literally talked the whole night and was one of the last people to leave, because it was so exciting to be in a space to hear people share their money struggles, ask me questions, or just tell me that they too feel guilty about spending or also compare their salaries to others. I even met one woman who came all the way from Ottawa just to attend the event (you rock!).
It’s funny because thinking back, I really needed that event. It was a reminder to me that so much more must be done and I need to do what I can to keep promoting this message of financial confidence and women helping women. But still, it’s exciting that things are happening. Action is being taken. The dial is moving, and I’m so proud to be part of that.
For more information or resources on how you too can gain financial confidence, please visit stnce.ca.