Note: Part one of a two part post.
Have you ever felt like you had a purpose, or the drive to do something, but you felt like you really weren’t qualified? You feel you’re skilled, successful or can be successful in that space, but who would come to you for that? Almost like, you’re a fraud because you’re not good enough (in your own mind) don’t have some sort of degree, certificate or major accolade to prove your worth?
One: that is your ego talking, your inner mean girl/guy, what Bethenny Frankel refers to as “noise” (her book “A Place Of Yes was amazing – you can order your copy here ) or your own negative self talk which I wrote about here.
It’s time to have a conversation with it..
Two: it has a name. Imposter Syndrome.
Imposter Syndrome can be defined as “a psychological pattern, in which an individual doubts their abilities or accomplishments, and has a persistent internalized fear (ah, fear, so we meet again old friend) of being exposed as a fraud. They feel that they do not deserve all that they have achieved and attribute it to luck or as a result of deceiving others into think that they are more intelligent than they perceive themselves to be.”
Ironically enough, while Imposter Syndrome applies to both men and women, early research focused on women and more times than not, high achieving women suffer from imposter syndrome.
I never knew that this awful feeling I had, actually had a name. As I mentioned in my previous blog post, before I started writing, I played this game of mental ping pong with regard to if I should actually start this site or not. I felt a strong need to share this equivocal journey that is my thirties, because other people, whether older or younger, are going through these same exact situations; they’re feeling these feelings. I felt a wink from the universe pointing me in the direction, to connect and remind people that they’re not alone, because they’re not. I’m not, you’re not, none of us are. I am you.
I asked myself, “how am I an imposter or a fraud by talking about what I’ve learned? My own personal experiences?” What was worse was that, after I finally started walking the a path that I felt I needed to take, word made its way back to me that friends were criticizing certain blog topics saying “What makes her think she should write about that?” What does she know about it?” And in that moment, I asked myself, “Maybe I am an imposter?”
What I learned from that situation, because I am a forever student, I realized that there will always be harsh critics. Even in the form of “friends.”
Now I challenge those who criticize. What does Rachael Ray know about cooking? She doesn’t have a Culinary Degree (or a college degree) nor does she have any formal culinary training. In fact, she credits her job at Macy’s for giving her any education in gourmet foods and the rest was from watching family.
What does Anna Wintour know about fashion or journalism? The reigning Editor-in-Chief of the world’s most renowned fashion bible actually dropped out of school notably declaring, “you either know fashion or you don’t.” What did Steve Jobs or what does Michael Dell know about Technology? None of these highest respected icons of their crafts hold formal degrees or trainings.
In his book Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell points out that it takes 10,000 hours of practice to achieve mastery in a any particular field. I am not sure if I believe in experts, but I do believe in people who find their true self and purpose, who relentlessly tire themselves practicing their passions. Those who wake up before the birds and go to sleep with the moon. Those who spend 10,000+ of their free time mastering their craft. Those are people who can never be called a fraud.
So, how are you spending your 10,000 hours?