Three Confessions and a Donald Sutherland Clip

by Annie

in motivate schmotivate

Confession #1, followed immediately by the clip: Many days – most days – I am afraid that you will do this to me:

And it terrifies the crap out of me.

Not so much because I’m afraid of turning into a pod person. But more like I’m afraid you’ll find out I am a pod person.

In a sense.

Let me back up.

This month’s Word Carnival theme is “The Impostor Syndrome.” As in, “do you ever feel like you’re an impostor?”

As in, “I’m not really this productive dynamo – I just play one on the web.”

And here’s the second confession: That topic was my suggestion. (I find I work my way through my own shit most effectively by writing about it honestly.)

Here’s the third confession: It’s not just that I feel like an impostor about this site – about my work with clients, or my writing here.

It’s everything I do.

Designing a website? I rock and roll right along until someone asks for something I don’t know how to do right off the top of my head. All of a sudden, the inner monologue goes something like this: “You taught yourself how to code. You know you’re no expert. You don’t know nearly as much as most developers. You’re constantly asking for help. YOU SUCK. YOU ARE A FRAUD.”

Coaching a client? I’m zooming along, going 90 m.p.h. and hand-holding the client through the twisty-turns of a productivity obstacle course, until she asks me a question and I don’t know immediately how to answer. BAM. Inner monologue goes a little something like this: “Seriously, productivity?!? DO NOT MAKE ME LAUGH, FRAUDULENT FRAUD.” 

Or — this one’s good — say I’m writing a post for my Trauma Dolls site. Despite the fact that I’ve dealt rather monumentally well, if I do say so myself, with chronic pain for over fourteen freakin’ years, I find myself writing a piece of advice that I myself do not always follow 100% of the goddamned time and – yep, you guessed it – time for an inner monologue! “How DARE you, you insolent bag of hubris and hot air! YOU KNOW NOTHING. FRAUD!!”

I just…

I don’t know.

It happens, is what I’m saying.

And in much the same spirit demonstrated by Ash Ambirge of The Middle Finger Project here, I am coming clean and confessing my impostor-y sins.

Because we all feel that way from time to time. Yes, even those of us who live anchored in the deep blue fizz of the woo-woo, Completely Aligned with their True Passions. They feel it too.

(Even if they’re not coming clean and admitting it today.)

And the only thing that helps me cope with those inner monologues from hell is the following:

  1. Taking a short walk or exercise break, because feeling my body move in space makes me feel grounded in reality again. 
  2. Breaking down the monologue and challenging all its many asinine assumptions.
  3. Telling myself the truth.

That truth goes a little something like this 

“No, of course I don’t know everything about coding because NO ONE DOES. But I know where to look, and I learn quickly.”

“OK, so I got hit with a question I couldn’t answer in the heat of the moment. Next time, I can just say ‘You know, I don’t know. I need to think about that one a little bit.'”

“Ooh, I’m inconsistent and not completely perfect? ALERT THE MOTHER-EFFIN’ PRESSES. I do the best I can as often as I can. And that’s enough.”

I wish I had some brilliant brainstormy advice to give you right now, something beyond the above. Something cooler, something brilliant, something guaranteed to produce a balls-blazin’ home run every single time.

I can’t.

If you know of such a solution, however, you should definitely tell me in the comments below.

And if you don’t? Well, come sit by me, sweetness, ’cause we’re all in this impostor stew together.

What’s this? The Word Carnival, that’s what. Every month a group of small biz bloggers get together and share their thoughts on a common theme or topic. This month’s theme is “The Imposter Syndrome: Feeling like a fraud? You’re not alone.”  Check out all the other carnies here.


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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Carol Lynn July 31, 2013 at 1:17 pm

If there’s one thing you can do a rockin’ job of EVERY time, Annie, it’s cracking me up. “Fraudulent Fraud”. My favorite.

I happen to be on board with the whole “no brilliant advice” thing. It’s something our little human brains do to us and we have to figure out how to deal with it on our own. I think the best thing we can do is recognize it, realize we are not alone and then work to knock that stupid feeling on its ass. I often wonder why our very evolved human minds do these stupidly non-evolutionary things to us. What lion is sitting on a plain wondering whether his mane is on straight? And yet here we are.
Carol Lynn recently posted..Are You Sending Signals That You’re Not Worth Doing Business With?


Tea Silvestre July 31, 2013 at 2:13 pm

This kind of crap is the reason why we need each other. To be the reality checks. To be the rallying support. And to be the reminders to be kind to ourselves.

Also, as Carol Lynn pointed out, you are VERY handy with the writing and the humor stuffs. Where did you find that Donald Sutherland clip? I didn’t even remember that existed!

Big hugs, sister.
Tea Silvestre recently posted..Word Chef Confessions: I’m Afraid You’ll Find Out I’m a Marketing Fraud


Sharon Hurley Hall July 31, 2013 at 6:32 pm

Annie, you nailed it. We all have those moments. I like option 2 best – giving yourself time to think about it, because it’s odds-on you WILL have the answer eventually. Nice job!
Sharon Hurley Hall recently posted..Blogging Update – Q2 2013


Clare Price August 1, 2013 at 3:06 pm

Annie, you had me at Donald Sutherland. Boy, do I remember that movie! But what really got me was the visual — “those of us who live anchored in the deep blue fizz of the woo-woo,” Love it.
Clare Price recently posted..Shattered Glass Social Media, Part 3


SandyMc August 6, 2013 at 7:33 am

You are funny Annie. Don’t let your fraudulent fraud tell you otherwise. And while we all sit in the impostor stew together, we can have a good laugh at that lion that Carol Lynn mentioned sitting on the plain wondering if his mane is straight! LOL.
SandyMc recently posted..You’re not an impostor. You’re an innovator.


Michelle August 23, 2013 at 4:44 pm

You know, bizarrely (or maybe not?), it makes me feel a lot better that you don’t have very many actionable tips either – I think impostor syndrome is just something that we kind of have to work on and it never REALLY goes 110% away, it just becomes quieter and quieter until it’s a lot easier to say “Okay yeah whatever, go sit in the corner, I don’t have to let you drive the bus or scream in my ear while I try to drive.”

(PS: I felt way too young when I had no idea what the context of that video clip was until you explained it. D’oh.)


Annie August 23, 2013 at 5:12 pm

Annnnnd now I feel hella old.

(Thanks for the comment, ‘chelle – I agree, it’s just one of those things you can only go “yeah, yeah, I hear ya, simmah down now,” and get back to work.)


Nick Armstrong September 2, 2013 at 10:16 pm

There was this great quote from The West Wing that goes something like, “If you learn one thing in prep school it’s how to pretend you know what’s going on.”

I don’t know one entrepreneur who has themselves completely together from end-to-end. It’s just nonsense to think otherwise; there’s so much stuff up in the air at any given time, the best thing to do is to make the best decision you can with the information you have, don’t agonize, and do the next step.

In other words, just imitate Jed Bartlet’s “What’s Next?”
Nick Armstrong recently posted..Want Referrals? Get People To Hate You First.


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