The Imposter Syndrome (Re-Visited)
I think one of the biggest battles we all face is the one we fight within.
When I wrote PASSION!……one of the most personal chapters for me, was on the idea of belonging – of faking it till you make it – of that dubious dance of trying to convince others that you deserve a seat at a table that feels a bit too rich for your reach.
To counter a lot of those points – and the perennial self doubt that plagues us all in one way or another – I shared some of the meaningful stories I’ve soaked in along the way to bolster my sense of belonging and to keep myself sitting at that table, even when my legs still feel a bit short.
Amy Cuddy had a great TED talk about the idea of “The Imposter Syndrome” – and I borrowed a bit of that idea to cultivate my own confidence – even when doing something as simple as publishing a book in the first place. (after all……..even to this day, I tell very few people outside of the IM entrepreneurial spaces that I’ve even PUBLISHED a book (or 3) simply because it feels like a silly sounding statement – or a scammy one – and while true, it doesn’t really feel like what I’ve done is “real” – or it feels like an online “cheat” to get a name on the marquee…..or that sort of similar sneaky idea.
(e.g. – when ANYONE can publish a book these day – actually doing it doesn’t feel like a validation of much)
All of this aside – the story below really resonated with me today – a TED fellow who “confessed” to being so broke that she had $5 left in her bank account to last after the conference was done, and the next paycheck arrived – and who found herself surprised at the courage of other TED fellows who shared (anonymously) their own CONFESSIONS – challenges, fears, insecurities and struggles to belong – and also found herself $250 richer as a result.
The most liberating discovery is always that we all have much more in common than we know.
Our frailties – as people – are always stiched and sewn and healed and helped by sharing – and by remembering – that comic book heros may look good on stage – and in color – but in real life – we’re all pretty much cut from the same monochrome cloth.
You can read the whole story at the link below.
My first year as a TED Fellow was full of sins … of omission. To people I met, I admitted my fear that I didn’t belong, but not my true fear about being unworthy of the program altogether. How did I get chosen among these amazing people? I felt conflicted about being included, and the struggle in me alienated others.But this time, I came to the Fellows Retreat in Whistler with none of that baggage. All my demons were worked out after being humbled by much more severe life lessons. Since mid-July, I’ve had no income. Just a few weeks before the event, I found myself homeless. I had to muster up the courage to come back from that – and the work I now do to pay the bills is seasonal, and only a third of what I once made.
Thank God I paid for my airline tickets to the retreat back in March or April.Organized religion? Blah!! But this confession thing works. When I wrote my confession late Saturday night, it was as if Candy’s installation gave me permission to release my worries and leave them behind. I had made it to the retreat. I had enough money to get myself home from the airport. I told myself I’d survive no matter what. And I wasn’t going to complain about it, a deliberate practice these days.
On Monday, I walked by the board with one of the staff members and happened to notice something pinned near my confession. I was stunned to tears when I saw that it was money — from three different people. Never in a million years had I expected anything from my confession. I was just happy to be at Whistler with a new attitude. I turned to the staff member and mumbled, “That’s mine.” I wept on his shoulder.I revealed my secret to another Fellow standing in front of the other confessions. “That’s mine,” I said, a bit bolder. She said she had donated because she was in the same boat. Like me, she quit her job after becoming a Fellow. She still had funds left, though, and she gave me a few dollars of what she had. Amazing!