Does Anyone Else Deal With Self Doubt?

Business By pinkpiggie78 Updated 15 Jul 2010 , 3:06am by ChunkkeeMunkkee

pinkpiggie78 Posted 9 Jul 2010 , 1:47pm
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I was just wondering if any of you ever suffer from self doubt when it comes to your work. I love decorating cakes, but always have this little voice inside my head telling me to stop that I am not good enough. I am quite the perfectionist and this is the first thing I have ever done where there isn't a definitive right or wrong, just an opinion (My degree is in mathematics if that tells you anything), and I always see everything that is wrong with my cake. I also have two little boys at home with me (3 yrs and 4 mo), so I don't know if that is playing a part in my "should I continue to operate my business" discussions I have in my head on a monthly basis. Does anyone else go through this? Or should I just call a shrink and talk to him about it? icon_smile.gif

55 replies
pinkpiggie78 Posted 9 Jul 2010 , 1:49pm
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And no I am not looking for compliments on my work, just was wondering if I am alone here icon_smile.gif

indydebi Posted 9 Jul 2010 , 1:58pm
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you sound pretty normal to me.

KHalstead Posted 9 Jul 2010 , 2:08pm
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sounds totally normal to me as well........I like to think that's the "quirky artist" in me lol. I never think my cakes look good enough (they never measure up to the picture I had in my head, not to mention all the 100's of things that go wrong while making it), but I have to remind myself that my customers have no clue what the cake "should have" looked like OR what went wrong or didn't work out!

You learn to keep your mouth shut and stifle that voice in your head that wants to apologize for the way the cake looks and point out every mistake/imperfection, and learn to smile and say "Thanks" when they compliment you!!

snocilla Posted 9 Jul 2010 , 2:12pm
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All the time!!! I just opened an in-home bakery in April, so I'm still pretty new to the business. My problem (I think) is that I keep comparing myself to the top-of-the-line bakers on this site! And then I think, "my cakes aren't as good as this person's, maybe I shouldn't be running a bakery". And then I get a really nice email from a very happy client and I feel much better!

martmarg Posted 9 Jul 2010 , 2:12pm
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i think everybody goes through that at some point especially if you're just starting! Don't worry your ok!!

snocilla Posted 9 Jul 2010 , 2:14pm
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...And btw, I have a 1-yr old and a 4-yr old at home too, so I completely understand the doubts that come from that too!

floral1210 Posted 9 Jul 2010 , 2:15pm
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First of all, I have looked at your gallery, and your work is beautiful. And yes, you notice imperfections, but no one else does. Your feelings are normal, I think, because we all know our faults and flaws, and tend to dwell there. No one else knows them, so they aren't looking for "proof" of them, as wel often are. Every cake you do will probably cause you to question yourself, but no one else questions your abilities. That being said, only you know whether your doubts torment you enough to give up the business. If it isn't working for you, and is making you uncomfortable, no amount of talent and/or kudos is going to make up for that. You have to decide if it's worth it to you to continue, but not based on doubt... you obviously have the talent to continue for as long as you wish.

thecookieladycc Posted 9 Jul 2010 , 2:28pm
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yes.... yes I do!

sweet_teeth Posted 9 Jul 2010 , 2:48pm
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YES. But mine isn't w/ the decorating, it's w/ the taste. My decorating isn't perfect and it isn't horrible. However, most people are in such awe of a decorated cake they are too busy admiring it to notice the flaws. Prior to decorating cakes, I never would have noticed a bulge, sloppy corners, etc. Now we are tuned into them.. which stresses us out sadly icon_sad.gif.

I do get nervous when it comes to the taste. I use either the WASC (modified) for white/yellow cakes OR Sylvia Weinstock's classic yellow cake, and then a variety of other recipes, typically scratch, for stuff like chocolate, carrot, red velvet, etc. I know all my recipes taste DELICIOUS, but I also know that everyone has different taste buds icon_smile.gif. Some are used to boxed RV (which i like, but it doesn't actually taste like RV) so when I serve them a truer RV recipe w/ buttermilk and very little cocoa they are taken aback.

I grew up on non-doctored yellow boxed cake w/ a can of icing that my dad would decorate w/ chocolate chips icon_smile.gif. LOL. While I actually LOVE the chemical taste, I know others do not. I also love scratch cakes, but I think I like the chemical taste in boxes more, once modified (i'm odd I guess!). Everyone is different. One of my neighbors kids HATE my frosting since it isn't 'sweet enough'.. and another neighbor's kids LOVE it. I use an 'American buttercream' but use a lot more butter than sugar so it's not crusting and not overly sweet. I KNOW its good; but i also know some won't like it. That kills me and makes me super nervous everytime I bake something for others.

So yes, you are SO normal.

Doug Posted 9 Jul 2010 , 3:04pm
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it's the day you DON'T doubt that you're in trouble.

Then you have become so vain, so overly self-assured, so prideful that....

well we all know pride goeth before the fall.

millermom Posted 9 Jul 2010 , 3:16pm
post #12 of 56

pinkpiggie78,

I used one of your cakes as inspiration just last week! (the pink/orange gerbera daisies) I spent the whole evening thinking I should just stop decorating because it didn't end up looking like yours, got a bulge, etc.

_christina_ Posted 9 Jul 2010 , 3:59pm
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Yep and yep! I look at other's people's cakes all the time and think I am not up to their standard. What's funny though is that I've heard that said about my cakes, too.

The other day I was looking at a cake book and I got really close to the picture (seriously, my hubby was looking at me funny). well, I could see fondant cracks. And is a very prominent decorator I am sure we have all heard of. Yep, cracked and rippled fondant on pictured cakes in her book. Made me feel a bit better.

I only look at those imperfections cause they catch my eye, just like they do on all cakes. I am a perfectionist, and it has haunted me since I was young and will, probably, forever. Oh well, I'm learning to deal with it.

indydebi Posted 9 Jul 2010 , 4:06pm
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Quote:
Originally Posted by _christina_

Yep and yep! I look at other's people's cakes all the time and think I am not up to their standard. What's funny though is that I've heard that said about my cakes, too.


Oh I know that feeling! I think my cakes are very "plain jane" and I get PM's all the time to the contrary. But I look at Edna's cakes and think, "Brim, you got SOME NERVE calling yourself a decorator!"

However ..... when setting up a cake, I never vocalize those things. When other people are around, I'm saying things like, "Brim, you're a freakin' genius .... AGAIN!!!" icon_lol.gificon_lol.gif

(See, I've kinda mastered the art of bullsh*t!) icon_biggrin.gif

llbesq Posted 9 Jul 2010 , 4:09pm
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My husband will be glad to hear that I am "normal" - well, at least from a cake decorator's perspective icon_smile.gif) We see imperfections that no one else notices and are harder on ourselves than our customers. I have learned to keep my mouth closed about what went wrong and what isn't "perfect". Now, I just have to keep my husband from "confessing" to what he has seen when I do cakes for people we know!

needy2 Posted 9 Jul 2010 , 4:17pm
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Almost every cake I do I feel like there is so much more that I could have done, or done so much better, that sometimes I wonder why people pay me. But, then as I'm setting up and the bride comes in and just gushes, it reassures me that I don't totally suck.

A tip I give my students (that I should do myself!) is to take a mirror and look at your cake in the mirror. Because of the change of perspective, its harder to see the flaws that our eyes are automatically drawn to. It really helps.

cakelace Posted 9 Jul 2010 , 4:19pm
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I hope that my cakes get around to looking like your cakes. I'm a Scientist-but not a messy one. I am pretty type A and like neatness and order- control freak. I can control my recipes and experiment with them so my cakes taste AMAZING!! But my decorating skills need a few tons of polishing. At a glance all I saw was perfectly looking straight lines and smooth cakes with beautiful/interesting designs.
We will always be our biggest critics- I was once told by a therapist- every time you find a flaw with yourself/stop and find something you can compliment. So if you say blah this so and so looks like crap- look at something else on your cake and say but that flower is freaking awesome!

JaeRodriguez Posted 9 Jul 2010 , 4:22pm
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pink, you're completely normal! Look at all the posts asking what other CCers think about their cakes or if they've charged too much/not enough!

Kellbella Posted 9 Jul 2010 , 4:30pm
post #19 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug

it's the day you DON'T doubt that you're in trouble.

Then you have become so vain, so overly self-assured, so prideful that....

well we all know pride goeth before the fall.




Well said Doug thumbs_up.gif

_christina_ Posted 9 Jul 2010 , 4:38pm
post #20 of 56

Yep and yep! I look at other's people's cakes all the time and think I am not up to their standard. What's funny though is that I've heard that said about my cakes, too.

The other day I was looking at a cake book and I got really close to the picture (seriously, my hubby was looking at me funny). well, I could see fondant cracks. And is a very prominent decorator I am sure we have all heard of. Yep, cracked and rippled fondant on pictured cakes in her book. Made me feel a bit better.

I only look at those imperfections cause they catch my eye, just like they do on all cakes. I am a perfectionist, and it has haunted me since I was young and will, probably, forever. Oh well, I'm learning to deal with it.

FullHouse Posted 9 Jul 2010 , 4:40pm
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So happy to hear I'm not the only one.

Kissycake Posted 9 Jul 2010 , 4:45pm
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I agree - well said Doug. And pink - you are so totally normal. I also am a perfectionist and doubt my abilities everytime I attempt a cake. What really feeds into my "should I even be doing this" doubts are when i hear people complaining about the prices of cakes at our local grocery stores. Really? And then I was out with some friends last night and most of them know what I do - and one of them was talking about how they were going to attempt to make their own Barbie cake and that it's "easy to decorate a cake as long as you have the right tips" - wow. I know it's their opinion but it kind of stung to hear that.

So, no you're not alone. Thanks for the post - sorry for my long vent but it's nice to know others feel the same way.

iamelms Posted 9 Jul 2010 , 4:49pm
post #23 of 56

I also agree with Doug! Don't beat yourself up over your "imperfections" but see them as areas that you can improve on! (which is easier said than done, I know! You said you have a Mathematics degree, I have an architecture degree, believe me, I know what it is to pick apart your own cakes, I do it constantly) If you were already perfect at everything cake, you wouldn't have anything left to learn, and where would the fun be in that?

cheriej Posted 9 Jul 2010 , 5:14pm
post #24 of 56

Maybe you should view how well you have progressed. Look at your cakes from beginning of your career to now. I'm sure you will see a huge difference. I look at almost everyone's cakes here and think, well, maybe in 20 years I'll be closing in on them.

snocilla Posted 9 Jul 2010 , 5:19pm
post #25 of 56
Quote:
Originally Posted by cakelace

I was once told by a therapist- every time you find a flaw with yourself/stop and find something you can compliment. So if you say blah this so and so looks like crap- look at something else on your cake and say but that flower is freaking awesome!




Really good advice! I'll have to try this!

pinkpiggie78 Posted 9 Jul 2010 , 5:41pm
post #26 of 56

Thank you so much! I had a discussion about this with one of my fellow cake decorator friends and she told me it was because I was young (I am young, but not THAT young) and that I would get over it. I also know my husband thinks I am nuts too, but at the same time, he is the first to point out a mistake to me.

I do LOVE to see big names have issues with fondant though... I was watching an episode of Amazing Wedding cakes and this one cake looked HORRIBLE. Granted it eventually got covered with decorations, but still it gave me some encouragement that it's not only me who wants to throw fondant across the room!

JaeRodriguez Posted 9 Jul 2010 , 5:44pm
post #27 of 56

FullHouse- I love your signiture line. That's my reason for typos as well, glad to see I'm not the only one ;] baby in one hand, feeding with bottle under my chin and typing with the other hand!

cai0311 Posted 9 Jul 2010 , 6:23pm
post #28 of 56

I only feel this way everytime I make a cake, cupcake or cookie icon_cry.gif

VentureSister Posted 9 Jul 2010 , 6:34pm
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Welcome to the club. No matter how well my cakes turn out, all I see is the flaws. I think it is perfectly normal. It feels good to know that others feel the same way.

mommabuda Posted 9 Jul 2010 , 6:40pm
post #30 of 56

I do the same thing. I always get nervous before a big cake or doing something that I've never done before but when it turns out great (and it always does) I am SO proud of it and I feel frickin' awesome! It is a great feeling so I guess I kinda just set myself up for a big disaster which never seems to come icon_smile.gif

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