…to tell the world you won’t give it your best self?
Okay. You’ve got impostor syndrome.
Let me tell you a little secret: WE ALL DO. Every single person out there thinks this stuff all. the. time. “Who am I to…?” “What if people figure out I don’t know what I’m doing?” “Other people could do this so much better than me.” “I don’t have enough experience and someone will see through me.”
Here’s another little secret, courtesy of my mother a year or two ago. We were chatting about general life-stuff, and I asked her if you ever actually feel like you’re a grownup, or if you just go through life taking on more responsibilities (and handling them just fine) but still feeling like you’re just pretending to have your shit together. She told me that she, in her late fifties, is still pretending to be a grownup.
You know that ‘inner child’ folks talk about?
That’s all of us, all the time.
I guarantee that not a single person reading this feels self-assured all day, every day. We all have ways we’re ‘just pretending to be a grownup.’
Let me give you some examples from my own life! Here I am, single mom who works full time and is a small business coach on the side, who is also building a second side business. I’ve kept my kid alive for almost nine years, but I’m still making motherhood up as I go. I’ve supported myself since I moved out at 18, save for a few years home with my munchkin – but I’m still kind of in awe of the fact that I keep getting up every morning and going to the day job, without fail.
I grew up in the back-end of nowhere on a goat farm, for fuck’s sake.
And now I’m also a small business coach who commands a rate similar to lawyers with fancy degrees and two decades of experience.
How the hell did I do that? By teaching myself the trade. I found that I was crazy-interested in the mechanics of building a small business. There’s a lot of psychology involved, both internally for the small business owner and externally, in marketing and understanding your customer. I LOVE psychology. Massive nerd here. I’m also a big systems nerd, and this is one part practicality and one part psych (gotta build systems people will actually use!). There’s also a huge amount of creativity involved – all it takes is someone saying “I kind of want to do _____, but I’m not sure about [insert: product, market, business model]” and I’m off to the races with ideas. It makes perfect sense, as I score in the 99th percentile in Openness to Experience on the Big 5 personality test. I’ve been intensely creative since day 1.
So! My weird brain just happens to be exceptionally well suited to small business. This kid who grew up chasing goats down a little road in the Washington countryside (because if you want to contain goats you’d better build a fence that can hold water). This kid who never got any kind of education specifically for this, but educated herself by consuming 6,000 hours of information on the topic. This kid who said “Hm, what if people would pay me for this?” and then found out that they would.
Next time you think “who the hell am I to ____,” remember me.
Who the hell was I? A nerd who found purpose and decided to chase it. And what have I done? I’ve given people the foundations to build their businesses. I’ve helped them understand the psychology behind their avoidant nonsense and learn to set ‘traps’ for themselves so they do the thing. I’ve helped them approach business partners and clients in ways that move both parties toward positive outcomes.
Also, let me ask you the one question to kick your ass:
Who the hell are you to hide your best self from the world?
What, are we not good enough for your best self to come out and play? Does the world not deserve your best self? Are you trying to tell me that you hate everyone and you’re keeping yourself all to yourself?
OF COURSE NOT. That’s silly.
But next time, use that as ammo against your ego. Your ego wants to keep you safe, so it presents all these impostor-y pseudo-reasons for you to quit before you even start.
How do you shut it up?
You don’t. Thank your ego for trying to keep you safe (and name it, if that helps – one famous ego, Julia Cameron’s, is named Nigel. She imagines him as some hoity-toity disapproving English butler type who is a judgy brat). Thank it, and then tell it that it can have a seat and a cup of tea, and you’ll be over here.
Doing the thing anyway.
Go get some 🙂