Hey Foxy readers, it has been a while since I’ve had the chance to contribute to our blog directly.  The team has recently released a Foxy TV episode that focused on our learnings from undertaking our first 1000 installs (yay!) and the comments from our viewers struck a chord with me. So I feel like I like to chat a little more about this and hopefully help at least one person going through the same thing at the moment.

I have a vivid memory from the very early stages of the business. I was heading out the door and Jake wished me luck with a little “go get them” attitude. I went through the motions at the consult and the outcome was great, I connected with the agent and vendor and we subsequently styled the property. However, internally I was struggling with my subconscious. I distinctively recall, walking into the consult and feeling like a fraud. Who did I think I was? I didn’t have a formal qualification in design, my background was cancer care! Who was I to be the one giving expert advice when I am no expert by any means?!”

Well, it turns out this little and overpowering voice of self-doubt, the anxious feeling… this is what psychologists refer to as the Impostor Syndrome.

If you’ve ever felt it or are going through it at the moment, you’re not alone. Let me share with you the reassurances that helped me to combat that little voice.

You’re not weird.

It’s estimated that nearly 70% of people experience signs and symptoms of Impostor Syndrome at least once in their lifetime. So, if you are feeling like a fraud as a result of being in a new environment or being outside of your comfort zone, don’t be concerned – it’s perfectly normal. You’re not weird.

Don’t let you background define your future.

If nobody has told you before, I will. You CAN completely reinvent yourself.

I mean, look at me – I studied for 4 years to be a radiation therapist. My dream was to study medicine and be a doctor. I spent years and years working on my PHD, only to realise that I didn’t have the work-life balance I was after. The shift work, the daily commute, the not-so-great work environment… none of it was conducive for having a family. Fast forward a few years, Jake and I delved into property development, engaging local Property Stylists to present our properties. It was then that I found a passion for real estate and design.

I took the leap of faith and jumped from one industry to another. Jake followed one year later. Who knew an accountant would make such a great removalist!  If we can both do it, you can too!

Fake Face it Till You Make It

I’m sorry, but f**k faking anything. People sniff out bullsh*t and pretentious vibes from miles away.

OWN IT, instead – I say.

No formal education? So what?

No experience in the industry yet? Focus on what you can do and trust your capability.

What helped me overcome the uncertainty of my first few jobs was inner belief and Jake’s support. Deep down I knew that my ability to visualize the space and the ideal positioning of furniture was something not everyone had.

As much as I think that you can learn new skills and develop better techniques, I believe that a good perception is something you are born with.

My tips for you? Believe in yourself, stay authentic, be humble but confident, and find yourself a support person – someone who believes in you even when you don’t.

Lacking the Expertise? Do everything else amazingly.

Looking back, my own Impostor Syndrome circulated around worries relating to my lack of expertise & experience.  I soon learned though, that if I could do everything else consistently above and beyond from the business perspective, my worries didn’t matter.

Little did I know how right I was!

The business aspect is just as important (if not more) as the look of the final end result. Things like regular communication, flexibility and building great relationships were the pillars for the success of our business.

“I’ll be very open for a minute and give a very real example. My very first property install was rough. A full day to style the one property. Multiple visits to retail outlets as I just didn’t have a clue what I needed, to get the entire job done. I made the bed but wasn’t happy with the valance. It just didn’t sit right and looked odd. So, I removed it. I left the bed in a styled property without a valance.  When I look at it now, I cringe… it looked terrible. But guess what – the property sold above price expectations, no one else mentioned the lack of valance and the agent is still using our services.”

Keep developing yourself.

Becoming an expert doesn’t happen overnight. It comes as a result of continuous learning and hands-on experience.

At the beginning I spent a lot of time scrolling through Pinterest, looking at suppliers’ websites to see what trends are coming out and reading through hundreds of articles about property styling.

I did all this to be able to ‘back up’ the promise I made to agents to gain their trust. To be honest, I just didn’t want to present myself as the expert without being able to fulfill that – that terrified me.

In hindsight, I think it was this fear of not following through on my promise that served as a driving force behind wanting to keep learning new things. Ha! Whatever works, I guess!

Four years later I am still spending a good chunk of my time looking at other stylists Instagram for business research and reading articles, although these days they are more related to the real estate market. I’ve got to have an idea about the value of the houses in each suburb, so we can style it accordingly to the expected price point. Because that’s what experts do.

Don’t expect the Impostor Syndrome to go away.

Do I still have it? Oh yes, absolutely. Especially when it comes to styling high-end properties.

Staging homes under $1.5M is fine, that is our bread and butter after all, and I have become very comfortable in this specific niche.

But when I got a call from an agent asking us to style a $30 million house, I got that familiar stomach-sinking feeling all over again. Who am I… to style a house of that calibre?

Now, I am by no means a specialist in overcoming Impostor Syndrome, but if I could leave you with one thought, it would be this.

Who are you NOT to be… [fill in the blank] ?

We spend so much of our time worrying about what will other people think or about not being good enough, that we’d rather stay in our comfort zone and not do it at all.

So next time you catch yourself thinking ‘Who am I to be… XYZ’ change your thoughts to ‘Who am I not to be…’ and jump in confidently with both feet. You’ve got this! If I can do it, you can too!

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