“What do I post first?” I asked as I worked on changing the color of my title font for no doubt the 100th time.
“Write about your blog.”
Thinking my partner was kidding I was preparing a very big eye roll.
“Like about what you want it to be and why you’re so scared.”
Now he had a point.
I’ve been working on this website for months. Looking back through my monthly intentions and journaling reminds me of how many lines have been devoted to the idea that I need to release this to the world. This idea has been bumping against my insides for so long, that’s what somehow makes it scarier. I want to keep growing in this space, to keep expanding and sharing. Releasing the new site was the first step and I could not handle it.
Instead of dealing with those problems I stayed afraid. And then I realized what was happening. I was listening to the wrong voices, the ones that creep up and tell you you’re a fake.
It’s that feeling that can suddenly wash over you and make you wonder:
“What business do I have sharing/writing/talking about any of this?”
The imposter voice makes us feel like frauds, like everyone around will realize we are just faking it.
I kept focusing on questions that made me feel frozen:
“What if nobody reads it?”
“What if it’s a waste of time?”
“What if it’s not what I’m supposed to be doing?”
I remember first hearing about imposter syndrome from my graduate school thesis advisor. Her explanation is super helpful (check it out here!) It was one of those moments where my struggle made more sense. Naming it takes power away from it. Recognizing my mind is doing “this thing” helps me to look at it and know I can walk away from it. It’s just something that’s happening right now versus something that’s a part of who I am.
Paying attention to when these voices come, how they make you feel, and what you do when they show themselves helps to move through them.
My reaction when the imposter voice takes over is avoidance. I go into hiding from whatever is scaring me, pretending the issue isn’t hanging over my head. I downplay how I’m feeling about it and give many excuses as to why it’s not the right time, why I’m not ready, or whatever else helps to keep avoiding what I’m afraid of. I want to be clear that this feeling is different than taking a self-care break from a project, business endeavor, resume or what have you. Stopping to take a needed break is different than walking away from it because you think you aren’t good enough to complete it.
The imposter voice creates a mindset that seeps into all aspects of our lives, even if we are not conscious of it. Our work life, relationships with friends or partners, physical selves, eating habits, anxiety levels and many other facets of life are affected when we let a voice telling us we aren’t good enough dictate our lives. The imposter voice wants us to give up.
But sometimes it’s not about realizing the voice is wrong. Sometimes it’s about realizing we don’t know, and we have to move forward and try anyway, despite the potential for failure. Knowing you’ve tried feels a lot better in the end then not even knowing. There is power in recognizing the imposter voice and telling it to shut up and move along!
Let the world feel that you’re ready. Whether it’s changing your diet or starting a business you are ready to start. Somehow, someway just start. Because you are good enough, you are capable, you are going to change the world. Just by considering this you’ve already started.
I’m still scared but I’m giving up some control. Some control may seem minuscule, but it is a big feat for me. Just enough to let the universe have it for a while. I still have lots of questions but I’m flipping them around.
“What if lots of people read my blog?”
“What if it feels good to spend my time this way?”
“What if it’s exactly where I’m supposed to be?”
But all that’s not for me to decide. That is for the universe and all of you beautiful people reading to decide. And now I'm ready to listen.