Still Suffering From Superwoman Syndrome

It’s Friday and I’m exhausted.

I remember when I first moved to NY, I’d hear from people about how Friday night is the night when many NYers decompress and feel exhausted from all the running around they do during the week. I never really believed it until now, today, this week.

I’ve had a killer week. Monday, while a holiday for my full-time gig, had me traveling from MD to NYC and then take part of an 1.5 hour African dance class. Tuesday, was my weekly marathon training practice. Wednesday, well, plans got canceled that day, but my friend and I quick on our toes found a solution to our evening. I should point out that Wednesday also involved me leaving my office, dashing to Astoria, Queens to pick up my CSA share and then dashing back into Manhattan to meet my friend.  Last night, involved a networking event,  courtesy of Inc. Magazine, that I’m glad I went to,  but by the time I got home with my paper goods and my heavy bags, I just wanted to sleep.  Which is what I did. I was in bed by 10:30pm. I missed the rain storm with the thunder and lightning.

All of this leaves me here, right now, at 2:30pm on Friday afternoon, feeling exhausted. I should share that this morning, I already did a million things starting at 5am. I woke up and promptly went back to sleep. I finally woke up for real just before 6 and immediately started working on some additions to a wedding order that need to be rushed.  From there, I went about my regular morning activities –  showering, dressing, packing for the day, making coffee, eating breakfast and then leaving for work. Except that I had pit stops to make along the way… I stopped at NY Central Art Supply to buy some of the most expensive paper ever (new design to debut at Crafts at Chelsea tomorrow!!) and then I rushed over to 34th street to meet my printer to drop off paper and then we reviewed my designs and go everything ready to print. My printer also showed me a new trick to use for a mail merge. Then I quickly headed to the full-time gig, all the while panicking about time.

It was mid-walk that I sent a rant to my coworker about how I can’t do this anymore. I can’t! I’m tired of feeling tired! (Don’t worry this posting is not going to become a rant, I promise).  As I typed, I let out all of my frustration and stress. It wasn’t anything bad to the point where my coworker would feel stressed by it, if anything, I knew that she would understand. But then I felt pretty shitty because I realized that whereas I was complaining about a 5am wake up alarm, she probably wakes up every morning at 5am to tend to her five-year-old son and her own morning.

As I walked to my full-time gig, I realized that something has to give. I’ve known this for a while and so I started to actively look at ways that I can cut back on this superwoman syndrome that I suffer from. It’s really as simple as starting to carry a not so heavy bag. Really. I’m not lying here. My bags weigh be down for no real reason other than, I feel like I may miss an opportunity if I don’t carry around my million things. In reality, I’m not going to read my book club book, Forbes Magazine, NY Magazine, and budgeting help cards.  (Yes, I do really carry all of that in my purse). I need to stick to one. Maybe carry the book and one magazine, but not more than that.

I also need to remove papers from orders from my work bag. That bag (separate from my purse) is extremely heavy and for no reason. I don’t even go through the bag every day. Again, no excuse.

Those are things that are big, but not quite as big as the real big ones…

  • -I need to get 7.5 to 8 hours of sleep
  • -I need to wake up with more business intention. What I mean is I need to go to bed at a normal time and then wake up early to get things done rather than waking up early and going to bed late.
  • -I need to stop apologizing for not being available and stop making myself available when I’m not.

I think those are the big ones. I know, quite a lot. When you tally all of them, they all boil down to focus. But how does one focus when there’s so much going on? In a city like NY, when there are so many things to do and see and friends to meet up with, how can you just say no?

That’s the ticket, saying no. 

The above points are more personal issues, not professional issues, but it’s hard to say no when you’re running a business, too. And that’s the precise reason WHY you (and I) should learn to say NO! Loudly and proudly! In order to develop your business, you have to say no. There’s just no way. While getting free food and networking is always a great perk to attending conferences and panel discussions, it still doesn’t help you create product, develop your strategy, balance your checking account and making a dent in your future.

I think that my frustration, or rather stress levels started to rise yesterday morning to be exact, but I wasn’t aware of the full extent of it until today.  Yesterday, I was stressed about getting my Marathon fundraising email out and updating the blog on my fundraising page. I was also stressed about getting things together for Crafts in Chelsea. I have every intention of writing a blog here, but I didn’t and couldn’t because I ran out of time and energy.

Yet, even in my frustration, positive things happened – my fundraising email was a success – not only did I raise the last $15 I needed to reach my goal, but I raised $200 more. I also received tons of supportive and encouraging email, to boot!  I also announced to my friends and family the partnership between S2 Stationery and Design and Girls Love Mail and it was well received as well. I got notes from friends about how they had shared with their friends and posted on Facebook and to listservs. All of that was enough to leave me on a complete high. Even, I who has a habit of putting herself out there over and over again, can suffer from fear of failure (remember, I suffer from superwoman syndrome!) which can be scary at times.

The other way that positive energy found me was through a compliment from my friend/client who I’m working on the remaining wedding projects for. She contacted me frustrated herself and once I put her feelings at ease, she wrote back and said, ” You should add sanity savior to your website as one of the benefits you provide!”  That compliment made me smile big and realize that the service I do provide is worth every minute I spend making it possible.

Yet, what about my happiness? What about my need to sleep,  cook, and read? Well, I’m working on that. As of this weekend, with one event down, a 20-mile run scheduled and then the last two big events done before the holiday season kicks into high gear,  I will bunker down and get ready to purge the excess and shave down to what is really important – ME being able to provide the best service without distractions.

I know that it’s going to take a lot and I know that it’s going to take a ton of focus, but in order for me to continue providing my service and making S2 Stationery and Design run, I need to get down to this.  So stay tuned to the week of November 7th. I’m actually going to write about this purge here on this blog.


Because I think you can learn from my own messiness. Also, because I know I can’t be the only entrepreneur out there struggling with the same issue(s). If you are, please let me know how you are tackling this and what made you consider stopping the superwoman syndrome.


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S2 Stationery & Design

A rule-breaking designer, artist & entrepreneur who's passionate about paper and handcrafting stationery. I also write, travel, and focus on eco + social good.

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