Hello and happy Monday Funday. [Blogged while sitting on a Sunday, but the day got away from me so here we are.]
I’ve been holding on to this article for literally four years. It’s from April 2016. I thought, I’ll blog about this one day. The article from Experience Life is about creating habits and forming a mindset for self-improvement without feeling overwhelmed or a sense of failure. However, this title spoke a little differently to me. My “not feeling good enough” is a sentiment that follows me pretty much everywhere in life. Even in areas I’m talented in. So here’s a story of how I’ve come to acknowledge these feelings — and how I try to dismiss them.
I remember growing up feeling like I was just one step below being the best at something. I was always on the B basketball team, except for one year when I made A. And then in high school, I got very little play time on the JV team. (I ate lots of candy on the bench though.) In school, I took a handful of AP classes because Fred, only to fail literally every AP test to actually get the credits. My college relationship left me feeling very less than, for obvious reasons. And then I had a falling out with a close friend that left me questioning a lot about myself. I think years of feeling less than (warranted or not), became my status quo consensus about myself and my abilities. I’m far too quick to assume I’m no good, before even mentally giving myself a chance.
In college, between my marketing business classes and that one accounting class I dropped, I took a graphic design course as part of my minor. It was the first time I had allowed myself to explore that side of my creativity in a classroom setting where other people looked at my work. I was sitting among many peers who had chosen a creative major, so I immediately wrote myself off as being a top contender. But project after project (like the one in this cover photo), our professor would hold up my work in front of the class, use it as an example and praise it. I remember this so vividly because it was the first time someone “of authority” had validated my creative skills in a way that made me think, OK, maybe I am actually good at this.
Even this blog. When I talk about it, or when people bring it up to me, I’m quick to dismiss it as a topic of conversation. There’s still a whisper in my mind of, Who’s going to take the time and read what I have to say? Along with a bashful Who do I think I am writing a blog. One day I was introducing myself to a young woman who also had a blog, and I literally said, “Oh, I have a blog too! It’s not very good though.”
Imposter syndrome is a very real thing for many of us, and it can get in the way of being our best and living our truth. It took a few years for me to slowly dismiss my internal doubt and my need for external validation in order to feel successful at something. Still working on it, tbh.
So now as I sit unemployed, contemplating my next professional move, I’m entertaining ideas that force me to believe in myself more than I’ve ever had to. I’m learning to embrace responsible risk, create opportunities for myself, and humbly boast a little bit about my accomplishments. If I don’t do it, who will? (Besides my mom.)
Plus, chances are if you enjoy doing something, you’re probably objectively good at it. A learned skill is a real skill, but so is natural talent. Lean into yours and see where it takes you.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to go watch my dad paint our wall because he’s annoyingly perfect at all things house, and no matter how hard I try his artistic skill and neuroses out perform my own.