I first heard of 'The Imposter Syndrome' in a podcast and I'm actually sure I've heard it in both 'The Good Life' podcast and 'EOFire'. Both podcasts, if you're an aspiring anything are pure gold for the self-help enthusiast. EO Fire is especially great for people who own their own businesses or are keen to break the mould when it comes to the standard: get a job for someone else and then pay off someone else’s mortgage. There's so much juice in there, and seriously, if you haven't checked it out I highly recommend it. The good life is brilliant too. Some amazingly beautiful, inspiring conversations with awesome human beings. There's great insight and inspiration to learn from and apply to create your own version of a good life. That aside, my version of 'The Imposter Syndrome'. For me, it's a voice in my head that tells me simply, that I'm just not good enough to do what I do. I know so so many people in my life who suffer from the same stupid syndrome. This fear that someone else with more qualifications could do what I want to do, but that if I do it I'm probably not quite qualified. I have a few examples of where I see this at work in others and I kind of just want to shake them so hard it falls out of their ears and gets out of their head. If you are one of the people I have spoken to who has told me what you want to do with your life, but you haven't made the steps to do it because you're afraid you can't, or you don’t have enough credentials, or you just need to wait until you get ANOTHER piece of paper validating your experience: STOP IT. Stop it right now, and take a little step back. This is what I did for me, when that stupid imposter syndrome sunk its teeth in for me. I could hear the voice loud and clear saying "Michelle, you can't have a podcast about self help. You are not a psychologist, people are going to get angry and upset that you're giving advice when you're not a qualified doctor or anything. Who are you to give advice?". And you know what, if I was writing about things that I had no clue about and then trying to pretend that I was a qualified therapist or mental health practitioner, then they would have a legitimate reason to be angry. But I'm not. So this is what I did with the voice this time. I took a step back. I sat myself down and I had a think from a different perspective. I asked myself this question: "If you were a farmer, and you wanted someone to understand you and someone who had been there to tell you what they did to get their farm successful, would I want to listen to someone who had been in Uni for years studying Agriculture and whatever else, or would I want to listen to someone who had lived on the land for 20 years?" the answer was clear to me. I would want to listen to someone who had been there. Who had lived it. Who had waded through the shit themselves and got out and survived. I am that person. I'm not pretending to understand depression. I'm not pretending to know what it feels like when anxiety sneaks up on you and grabs you around the throat and squeezes every last ounce of confidence out of your body. I'm not pretending to know about post-natal depression and what it's like to love your baby with all your heart and still want to die. I'm not pretending to know what it's like to drink your pain away until you've burnt almost every bridge and damaged every relationship you've ever had. I'm not pretending to know what it's like to hit rock bottom and decide that you know what? I need some help. I have to be better than this. I can't do this alone, but I don't have to and if I get some help this time, just maybe I'll survive. I'm not pretending to know what it's like to turn your life around, to start from scratch, to learn about boundaries, and how to have healthy relationships and how to keep shitty people from abusing you or manipulating you. I'm not pretending to know how to learn optimism and how to have a world view that sees the beauty in life instead of all the crap that continues to rain on ones head. None of that stuff is pretend. I know it. I've lived it. I've breathed it. And not only is it my desire to share some of the crap I've been through so that it helps even one person feel like they're not alone, I also feel like it’s my responsibility. I have the experience, I have the desire, I have the ability and means to do this and if I didn't do this in spite of the fear that I wasn't good enough, then the person who emailed me last week telling me I changed their life, wouldn't have had their life changed. I wouldn’t be in the ears of so many people, helping them to change their lives, or their perspectives or at the very least making them feel like they aren’t alone in this.
I believe that our dreams are placed in our hearts for a reason. I believe that our experience never goes to waste. If we can use our history, our talents, our past crap, the mistakes we've made, the lessons we've learnt, to help others, then that is NEVER a bad idea. If that imposter syndrome is what’s holding you back. Sit down. Talk to it. Fear is there to help us, and save us from danger, but sometimes we need to look at what the real danger is. We need to acknowledge the risk, what can go wrong, put things in place to avoid as much risk as possible, but then, sometimes we need to tell that fear that 'Hey, you know what buddy? It's gonna be ok, I have this covered. There's no tiger or lion or bear (oh my) that's going to eat me if I do this. Yes, there's a risk, but this is going to be worth it".
Let me tell you right now, that putting myself out there, warts and all, has been daunting. It's been scary, and it has been something that at times I have seriously struggled with. But, you know what? It's worth it. Every time an email hits my inbox and someone tells me that my podcast is impacting their life - it's worth it all over again. I would do this for YOU. I would do this for my cousin, for my aunty, for my Mum, or for my brother but you know what? I would do this for a stranger. Because I know the impact that someone can have on another human being. Because I know how alone you can feel sometimes in this life and if I can take some of the edge off that for anyone then it's worth it.
Whatever your thing is. Whatever you have been wanting to do and putting off, let's have another look at it. Instead of letting your fear lie there unexamined, just quietly holding you back, lets look at it square in the eye. What is your fear around this? What is holding you back? What is the worst that can happen? But how about this now: if you do this thing, and it works, what is the impact that it will have on others? What impact will it have on you? How will you feel if you achieve this? Are you going to look back in five years and regret not doing it? Is the fear valid? As in, are there risks in this that you're not prepared to face? Are you literally unqualified to do what you want to do and if so, are you taking steps to get qualified? LOOK AT IT. Face it. Then ask yourself this: "If someone else, with my background, my experience, in my position wanted to do this, what would I tell them to do?". Then trust your own answer because nobody knows this answer better than you.
If you need some help with this, I am more than happy to chat through your idea. I have some experience with building things and nutting out ideas. I also have experience with mentoring. But more importantly I also have friends who are life coaches, business coaches, and counsellors, so if you want to chat with me, lets chat and if I can point you in the right direction, then I'll do that. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or head to the website at www.transformationalpersonalgrowth.com and check out the resources page and we can organise a time. But let’s remember this offer has a time limit. So if you're a bit behind and don't find this until March 2035 then it's probably not on offer anymore. We have a two week limit for this. Email me before November 10, 2015. Otherwise, of course, you can email me at any time I just may not have the time to do one on one work after that!
That’s it from me this week. Thank you for reading, now get going and make yourself some plans to kick that imposter syndrome in the face. See you next week.