Johanna Rossi is the woman behind Raising Women, a community that supports each other through the challenges of motherhood. We asked Johanna to share her story.
Tell us your professional story
I’m a trained interior architect, however I started my career working for The Walt Disney Company designing children’s clothing. When I moved to Monaco I work as a freelancer and then worked for a photographer here who also published a fashion magazine. My husband opened a restaurant so I started working with him, before having our first child. After my second child I studied to be a health coach and then set up my first company Live a Nourishing Life, a holistic coaching, cooking and organic produce delivery company here in Monaco. I then launched Raising Women in September 2016 when I stripped back to concentrate on coaching. Recently I have taken a step back from my work to reassess and have made the decision to stop coaching and realign my work with my creativity. For the moment I’m enjoying writing a lot.
How has social media changed the way you work?
Social media has changed the way I work hugely, for better and for worse. Social media allows us to connect with people all over the world, that we would very probably never have the chance to connect with. However I do find social media has also been detrimental to my creativity, and often to my confidence as trying to grow a brand at the same time as evolving on a personal and creative level can be hard when there are so many ‘rules’ to adhere to if you also want your business equally grow.
What advice would you give to women who are lacking in confidence?
Make sure you know what it is you are trying to do/achieve, confidence comes with clarity. The clearer you are about what it is you want to do and what it is you want to create the more confident you will be.
Johanna is following…
Yes, that old chestnut. Don’t worry we all do sometimes. I regularly have moments where I have to reality check the self-doubt I feel. Talking to friends and family helps (and being give a metaphorical slap around the face). I don’t whether this is a particular trait amongst women, but I know a lot of us feel like this. Raising the subject publicly acts a reminder to myself to have more confidence in my own abilities, but also to reassure anyone reading this that (despite appearances) even the most apparently switched on people have wobbles too. You’re human and it would be a bit odd if you didn’t.
I’m not usually keen on labels (I don’t feel they are particularly helpful), but in order to illustrate the point I’m making, I want to talk about ‘Imposter Syndrome’: a recognised term in clinical psychology that eludes to a number of behavioural characteristics. The basis for these feelings broadly manifest themselves in the following ways:
- A belief that you’re not capable or accomplished, despite all evidence to the contrary.
- Difficulty believing or accepting genuine praise and recognition.
- Feeling like you’ve somehow faked your success.
- Fear of being outed as a fraud.
If you’ve taken time out of a career to have children you may feel this more acutely. That’s why support from fellow women is such an important part of validating your experience and sense of self-worth. Lack of career confidence is a huge barrier to achieving your ambitions, even if on paper you have everything going for you (and I guarantee you have). Receiving praise and recognition for your professional achievements, no matter how small can be the difference between making or breaking someone’s spirit. Often it’s the kindness of strangers that affects us more than the unconditional words of approval we hear from those closest to us. If you’re feeling like this then my top tips are:
- Talk to other people:
I guarantee other people will have felt like this at some point. It’s such a cliché (but it’s true) a problem shared is a problem halved. Families are great, but speaking to objective people who know your industry can give you a more constructive insight into how good your knowledge and skills are.
- Write it down:
Make two lists: one outlining all your achievements and experience; another ordering any areas of concern you have. Next, make a list of actionable goals (can you tell I like lists?). Make a realistic plan of ways you can work on your professional development: attend a training course to enhance your skills, refresh your CV/LinkedIn, join a business networking community.
- Meet up offline:
There is no substitute for meeting people IRL (this is an acronym young people favour, instead of saying ‘in real life’ – I’m down with it). Share your experiences with like-minded women and support each other.
- Don’t beat yourself up:
Remember we’re all winging it to some extent (some of us are better at appearing to look like we know what we’re doing).
- Find time to chill out:
Put things into perspective. I find a large glass of wine and cake really helps (sorry I meant exercise, yes, exercise definitely helps too).
Written by Amy White