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