When I started W&D back in 2010, what I wanted most was to create a tangible sense of community. I didn’t really know what I was doing and I was stressed because, even at the very beginning, I just wanted to be at the end goal of building this platform. From the very start, I wasn’t measuring up to the high ideals I’d always set for myself. I felt like an impostor from the get-go. The feeling hasn’t gone away, even though I’ve had so many experiences and accomplishments that would seem to indicate it should have.
At different times over the years since, I’ve found myself stuck in a spot where I felt like I couldn’t have my own back. Any little comment could poke at my inner sense of who I was. There was a disconnect between what I felt inside and what others told me I should feel. When you begin to look outside of yourself so much that you no longer understand how to follow your inner knowing, that’s when you know something’s got to give.
From the very start, I wasn’t measuring up to the high ideals I’d always set for myself. I felt like an impostor from the get-go.
These days, in my personal and professional life, I’ve come to a place where I can’t live with this feeling of being an imposter anymore; this feeling of turning to outside stimuli and input for validation and permission. I started therapy again this year because something was missing. I had been labeled with so much over the years—I understood my issues with boundaries, with ADHD, and with depression, but I hadn’t explored beyond these labels to the other things about me that were also internalized.
In my experience, people often feel like an impostor because they haven’t made the space to allow themselves to feel the whole range of emotions that make up their core identity. Without that inner knowing and understanding, they seek out external validation and a sense of belonging outside of themselves instead.
Figuring out how to get to the other side of impostor syndrome is about learning what it means to show up for yourself as a leader and to trust that you have your own back. Ultimately, our relationship with ourselves is the easiest to neglect, but the most important one any of us will ever have.
Once you begin to heal, you can learn to see value in yourself rather than in the input of someone else.
September is a time of year when so many of us are willing to take action. We want to go into the upcoming season with a renewed sense of focus and direction, but sometimes, even with the best of intentions, we can get in our own way. That’s why I was so eager to choose this month in particular to discuss the theme of impostor syndrome.
Figuring out how to get to the other side of impostor syndrome is about learning what it means to show up for yourself as a leader. . . . Ultimately, our relationship with ourselves is the easiest to neglect, but the most important one any of us will ever have.
This September, our contributors will be writing about the upside of being a quitter, style rules that are meant to be broken, and when to leave a relationship (and how to do it). I’ll be sharing an essay about why I recently went back to therapy, plus the long-awaited final reveal of our family room and updates on our kitchen remodel. Stay tuned for this and plenty more throughout the month ahead!
At the start of this month, I invite you to think about times and circumstances in your own life when you’ve felt like an impostor, whether in regard to your career, your relationships, a new activity you were trying for the first time, or something else entirely. How did you get to the other side? How can we find ways to counter that negative internal voice that tells us we’re not good enough?
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