Don’t go through life, grow through life.
A majority of people live their lives day to day. A continuous stream of experiences, most of which are repetitive and require minimal thought. You wake up, go through your morning rituals, get to that stage where you are ready to commence with your day and then enter start another set of rituals. When your day is complete, you wind down with your evening rituals and step and repeat tomorrow.
A minority of people are more focused on the patterns. They see the rituals, but in some form or another, they are more interested in bettering those experiences in countless ways. Reducing the time spent on thankless tasks, increasing the fortitude required to take on the ones that are more challenging, and navigating the path to the most daunting of experiences.
So today I want to discuss Imposter Syndrome. Apparently we all feel it at some point or another. It is that feeling that you are in a place that is beyond you. That feeling that you somehow snuck your way into a place, group, experience, position, etc. that you clearly do not belong. It comes at you out of nowhere and smashes over your head like that tsunami I discussed a few days back.
Imposter syndrome is so common, that as I have read the biographies of the greatest, they all felt it. Einstein, da Vinci, Jobs, Spielberg, Churchill and billions of others.
Today I woke up and found out that my foreign domicile (company) has been formed, thereby unlocking the giant next chapter of Sizzle. It meant that I could no longer hide in my home and do my job and keep dreaming that someday Sizzle would enter the world stage. Instead it forced me to realize that this was it. The log jam was broken and everything was (finally) going to happen.
You would think after 7 years of trying to get here that I would be jubilant. But instead, I woke up terrified. The voices in my head forecast global embarrassment. They tried to convince me that this was a rash move, and we could slowly dip our toes in the water and make it happen on a much more gradual basis. Every last rationalization pounded on me for about 5 minutes. All of the “what ifs” attacked me with everything they’ve got.
Fortunately, I have awakened with fear enough times in my life, that I just let those thoughts dance for a bit. I smiled at them and saw them for the boogeymen that they are. I allowed myself enough time to accept the fear that was pounding on me and listened to every reason why I am so not the one to do this.
And then… I finally came to my internal flash card….. Yeah… Says who????
Of course, the only answer to that question is… says me.
Imposter syndrome loves to prey upon our insecurities. It loves to feast upon our fear and dish it out to us in heaping portions so that we may choke on our own inability to rise to the occasion. And here is where I come back to the aphorism for today. Don’t go through life, grow through life. When that imposter syndrome was about to get the best of me, I reflected back to my second degree black belt test in which I was testing a second time because I had failed the test the first time. My redo exam was on a Friday the 13th. Superstition and everything else was pounding on me as I went to that exam. Memories of failing publicly in front of an audience replayed in my mind again and again. Imposter syndrome was in full swing… who was I to believe I am a second degree black belt? But the one thing that came through loud and clear was this…. I am capable of this. I know my material inside out and backwards. The only thing I had to fear was fear itself. (Thanks FDR!) So I entered the studio, took my place and waited for my name to be called up to the mat to test. In those moments of extreme trepidation, the shoulders of the giants that we stand upon are our own. We have grown into this position. We have evolved as humans and we are determined to ensure that we are going to be better today than we were yesterday. It must be so.
This is a long winded explanation of one simple fact. You are far more strong than you might ever imagine. You are not an imposter. You are the real deal. You may feel the fear. The fish out of water trepidation that you are so far out of your league that it is going to be a horrific experience. You may pray that it will end quickly.
But…. If you have grown along the road in life, and you can find that very quiet spot in your mind that supports your efforts that propelled you to where you are currently, then you will quickly discover that when your name is called and you have to go onto the proverbial mat to prove you are who you think you are, that you are that and so much more.
My fears of taking Sizzle out on the world stage had their way with me for about 5 minutes this morning. I was genuinely terrified for a brief moment. I felt like the biggest imposter on the planet. I am sure you have had your moments in which your fears are ready to eat you for breakfast too. Take a few deep breaths. Let those thoughts run their course. It is natural and all of the greats have felt it too. Then step out onto the mat and prove to yourself and everyone else in the world that you are what you believe you are…. And more.