That’s not to say it should be a lie, but more that, as I’ve learned, it often feels like one.
Lately, I’ve been giving a lot of thought to Imposter Syndrome, the feeling that you’re not actually worth your accomplishments and that, at any moment, someone could pop up and shout, “You! You aren’t actually the thing you claim to be, so sit down and stop pretending that you are!”
This sort of fear is good if you are, say, an actual fraud. Perhaps it will stop you from doing something fraudulent.
For the rest of us, it’s the irritating voice in our heads that stops us from celebrating/talking about/recognising our own achievements to anyone beyond our immediate toddlers or cats. And even then, it might be a whispered “Woohoo”.
I was facing my own inner heckler early last week. Here I am, getting ready to publish my 11th novel since Nov 2013, and I’m still sitting here firmly believing that I don’t know enough about my business after three years to make this a successful launch. I just shouldn’t make a big deal out of it, because whatever. It’s just a story.
“I’ve already published a book this year. People are going to get tired of hearing from me, so they’re going to ignore/unfollow/block/report me for spam” <—– ACTUAL THOUGHTS, PEOPLE.
How am I supposed to sell books when I’m too worried to stand up in front of wonderful readers who tell me they love what I write and let them know I have a new book? How am I supposed to reach new readers, if I don’t feel I’m worthy of the incredible reviews and messages I get from my existing readers?
So I took these thoughts and insecurities to one of the few Facebook author groups I love, and within an hour, I had a dozen replies from other authors (many of whom I really look up to and admire) telling me they experience the exact same thing.
This made me feel so much better!
I might be a fraud who is incapable of retaining a single piece of information about the business that I have dedicated three years to building…… OR I could be like so many other people and just think I’m a fraud who is incapable of, etc.
THE BRAIN IS STUPID, FOLKS. If you haven’t figured that out by now, then you are the most well-adjusted person in the world and should probably talk to someone about that. It’s not healthy.
Of course, as I was realising this about my business, I also realised how much I do it in the rest of my life, as well. I got married two weeks ago. Hitched. Was made an honest woman out of. I shared the news on social media, but sort of in passing. During all of the lead-up, during the planning for all the events that go with the big day, I felt really awkward and uncomfortable making a big deal about it. I didn’t want to appear vain or self-absorbed, so I internalized everything, and, as a result, ended up walking away feeling a bit like not many other people cared. Why would they? If I’m all calm, cool, and collected, then where is their motivation to be all bubbly and excited and bouncy?
This is a mistake I will not make for the reception in July, gosh darnit.
So why am I posting this?
Because I want you to know that you’re not alone. Yes, I’m making an assumption that you feel like this, too, but that’s only because every single other person I have spoken to has expressed understanding, empathy, and “THAT’S TOTALLY ME” whenever I’ve brought it up.
It might not be over everything. You might go crazy and shout as loud as you can when you get that promotion at work, but maybe you hush up when something you’ve been working on (your garden, a poem, a song, a robot you plan to use for your eventual world domination) goes really well, because you don’t feel that you’re REALLY a gardener, a poet, a musician, or an evil mastermind. You’re just playing at it. It’s not REAL.
But there’s the true lie. If you do it, it’s real. You really are those things. It’s time to admit it.
So I challenge you to do so in the comments. What’s something that you’re really proud of yourself for achieving/doing, but are never comfortable telling people about? I want to know!