That persuasive voice that talks us all into feeling like we are aliens in a perfect world is exactly how I describe it.  It’s the daunting music that plays and tension that we feel before doubtful lyrics start to chorus in:
Am I ready for this?
What if they say this about me?
But, they don’t know the truth about the who, what, when, where and why…
Who do I think I am to be so bold?
It’s called impostor syndrome, and no one person is excluded from its grappling clinch.

I’ll never forget my first time stepping into the pageant world.  I was 4 years old.  The day of my pageant, my mom was still making finishing touches on my dress, styling my hair and applying a minuscule amount of makeup.  I’d been playing with my four front, top teeth as most kids do at that age.  They were loose and wiggly and quite frankly, I didn’t understand their importance at that moment and probably for good reason.  I tugged and wiggled all 4 teeth right out of my mouth just hours before the pageant.  I don’t remember my mom freaking out, and she would’ve never expressed her negative digressing of my new found smile anyway, but I simply didn’t have a care in the world that I was now the snag-tooth pageant hopeful.  That night I got on stage without all four of my front teeth, and I left all my talents on the stage.  I walked away with 1st Runner up in Little Miss Humboldt.

Despite what you may know, that was a pretty big deal and a major accomplishment in a town population of fewer than 8,000 people.  The point is, as a kid, I had no impostor syndrome because I had no awareness of my flaws.  There was no voice telling me what was wrong and how the world may perceive me.  However, the older we get, we become aware of our imperfections, and if you’re human and we all are, feelings of inadequacy may cloud you at times.

If you’re sitting behind your screen right now, saying, “no,not me.”  I’ve got news for you, you must be anointed to some miraculous, immortal degree.  I’ve worked with big-wig people who still wonder how the world views them.  Truthfully, it’s inevitable to avoid.  It’s reality. If I were sporting my 4-year old smile at the current age of 26, someone might assume a plethora of negatively connoted reasons why.  Naturally, my impostor syndrome would commence.

The key to succeeding your impostor syndrome is talking to yourself in a more pleasant, convincing voice.  I like to pretend that Morgan Freeman is talking to me because he’s someone who convinces us all how great a variety of different platforms are from the Olympics to American Express to Hillary Clinton.  Find your voice, however, it sounds.  Once you train yourself to hear this voice the loudest, you will find yourself channeling a more productive, vibrant, nonchalant spirit.

Sharon Jones, a world renown, musician recently told Rolling Stone Magazine: “In the 1990s, a record producer told her she was “too fat, too black, too short and too old.” “I looked at myself and saw ugliness,” she said.

“Jones retreated from music, taking various jobs that included two years as a corrections officer at Riker’s Island prison.”  Sharon said that taking this job fostered her on stage persona: “fierce and demanding respect.”  She said, “The inmates didn’t scare me. I had to put a mean face on, but it went away in a second.””

She said, “I told myself, God blessed you with a gift, use your gift.”  It was her inner voice that led her to a remarkable musical career.  To all of you, it wasn’t until Sharon’s 40’s that her persistence paid off!  So, listen up, your inner voice is so important.  It’s okay to listen to the impostor in your head, but don’t let it be the reason you aren’t your best self in every situation!

Here are 3 more tips to dealing with that vicious visiting voice:

1.     Stay in your own lane

  • Take breaks from social media if it makes you draw comparisons.
  • Give yourself daily affirmations: “I am amazingly smart.  I’m so good at swimming. I’m such a good mom.  I’m an awesome best friend.”
  • Hone your craft.  Be so good at it, that your confidence couldn’t be broken by a wrecking ball.

2.     Expect Outside Commentary

  •  People assume all the time.  You assume things as well.  Know that people will come up with their own version of your story.  It is innately unavoidable.
  • Word of mouth just so happens to be one of the best marketing tools.
  • Not all commentary is bad commentary.  Some of it is true criticism to consider.

3.     Tread through Fierce Waters

  • Don’t stray away from your passion without a fight.  Go full-force in the way of your dreams.
  • Fear can be debilitating if you don’t allow it to strengthen you while you work.  Just as Sharon Jones said, she learned her stage persona by having to enact it in front of inmates.  The water you are in may not be gentle, but it will help you exercise the various muscles you’ll need to make it! Tread lightly if you need to.  Nevertheless, tread.


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