This blog sets the stage for a series of workshops I will be producing that address ideas and emotions from Oh My God – I’m a Victim of the Impostor Syndrome! to Can I Really Do What I Love AND Have Fun When I Retire?
In preparing workshop content, I’ve been reading lots of material and talking with colleagues and friends. The stories shared over the years have helped me feel less isolated. I’m not alone. You’re not alone. The book I’ve been enjoying lately is The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women by Valerie Young, Ed.D. I encourage you to pick it up and give it a read.
As Valerie confesses, I too am a “recovering impostor”. And with any "thing", it is an ongoing journey to understand our past…own how that past shapes our perceptions….and claim the future we imagine for ourselves.
So today, let me simply share some of my story and then offer up a few tips that might help you launch your own journey.
I have a performing arts background. I am a classically trained vocalist – although my heart is and will always be in the blues. And I am an actor and director. The blues and acting are the places where I could lose myself…and…find myself.
As an artist, not every one of my performances received great reviews. No surprise, those less than stellar reviews could sting. I had to shake off the stings….take what made sense and use it…and move on. But it wasn’t always easy. What if I really wasn’t that good?
However…there is an up side! There always is! My creative outlets DID give me space to reflect – explore - and even sometimes hide when getting lost in a character or a song offered more support than what I could find out in the world. And yes - I was good! I wasn't an impostor!
That was many years ago. I don’t perform anymore. I prefer being behind a camera. Today I get to be an artist in a suit. My creativity has led me to launching businesses. I have raised two of the most amazing daughters who humble me with their hearts. I’ve had the opportunity to embrace a blended a family that has blessed me with more joy than any one heart can hold. And I have loved a man who makes me laugh every day. The bumpy journey was worth it.
So, from me to you - a few tips I’ve learned along the way.
- Practice reflecting and understanding why you feel the way you feel. You’re not responsible for your first thought…it comes from things said or done to you a long time ago. HOWEVER, you ARE responsible for your second thought. Practice getting to that next thought….OFTEN.
- Even when it’s tough, find a mantra that helps you weave your way back to yourself. When things start churning for me, I breathe and repeat to myself at least 3 times – Let Go. Let Be.
- Write down those magnificent moments of profound realization – those moments when you realize you’re holding on to something that isn’t yours to own. In writing it down, you will discipline yourself to intentionally raise your self-awareness. In writing it down you can make a conscious choice to continue to own the thought and feeling that no longer serves you…or to let it go.
- Talk with your friends about this journey. Share your stories and experiences. Uncover the triggers that undermine YOU. Learn from each other. Become a new tribe of self-believers.
Oh – by the way - every now and again, I need to remind myself I am good at what I do. I am not an impostor. I’m still in recovery.