The Impostor Experience: 3 Things to do when You feel like a Fraud

Have you ever felt like you aren’t good enough? Did Michael Jackson’s Smooth Criminal smooth crimina.jpghave it right? That it doesn’t matter what you do, you are sitting in pumps or Oxfords about three sizes too big? You are not alone, my friend. I have often felt that way. As I spoke with my mentor and another marketing guru, we discussed my business, and where I’d like to take it. I explained the contents of my books, about my diploma and degree, and my current job in social work and being self employed. I spoke about where I’d like to take my business, the new book I’m writing, and more about this blog.

 

However, as much as I discussed these things, the smaller I sank into my chair. I have dreaded writing this post. It has been in the back of my mind since I decided to start blogging. Originally, a few people I respect suggested I start a blog to develop and continue my writing. I wanted to continue to nurture my craft and felt that writing at least once a week would be a great way to continue. But what did lil ole me know about blogging? What platform did I have that could I speak from experience? Besides the soapbox rants of a raving single, middle aged cat lady without cats? Joking. Not joking. *gasps* Professionally speaking, I felt I had little to offer as I did have a college diploma, but was fairly new in my field, and was in the middle of finishing up my degree.

The only thing more daunting than my professional life was my personal life. I felt that all of my accomplishments paled in comparison to the shambled mess that my life had turned into. A mental health crisis, a divorce at 24, being a single mama of 3 under 4, largenumerous boyfriends and countless failed relationships, and most importantly, my children going to live with my ex-husband made that mess seem like Everest. None of my other achievements mattered. I felt like a terrible mother, destined to have all three of her babies in endless amounts of therapy (the best result) if not jail/gangs. I might as well start purchasing shares in an esteemed psychotherapy clinic now as they will inevitably need years upon years of therapy, I thought.goosfraba

Graduating university with honors didn’t matter. Getting a job in my field BEFORE I had graduated university (which is apparently almost unheard of) didn’t matter. I didn’t even work my proverbial Starbuck’s stint for 2-5 years post undergrad before getting a job in my field. Am I literally the only person who actually WANTED to make fancy lattes and get paid to chat with people all day? Writing two books in two years and being self employed didn’t matter. Selling my art didn’t matter. I felt like a failure, a fraud, an impostor. I was deceiving people on purpose- pretending every day that I was someone I wasn’t.  I thought I should give up everything to collect social assistance while I figured out what was going on in life. Imagine what would’ve happened if I DID!

I spoke with several of my girlfriends about feeling like a terrible mother. Every. Single. One. Of. Them. said the same thing. They all have a moment weekly, if not daily, where they feel like they have no idea what they’re doing. They don’t feel like they have all the answers. They are bosses at work. They make copious amounts of money and have a certain amount of power and influence at the places they work, and yet; we all have similar feelings. How can this be?

Are we all completely out to lunch and need to be certifiably locked up in a mental health institution until such a time where we can get a “proper” diagnosis with medication?

Or maybe something else is going on…

  1. Society puts too much pressure on us as mothers. We are expected to be back down to our pre-pregnancy weight by a month post-delivery,have perfectly coiffed hair, children who are well behaved/play nicely with others/go to bed the first time you tell them, maintain a showroom-esque home, and all this while working full time and “having it all.” Obviously this is far from reality. I talk extensively about this and how to live life on our own terms in my first book 31 Days to Sanity31 days cover
  2. We don’t give ourselves enough credit and need to start, as Mark Manson suggests in The Subtle Art of not Giving a F*ck actually not giving a f*uck about what others say, what those negative voices in our head say, what our parents said/did/didn’t do.
  3. Stop comparing ourselves to others. Again, I do talk about this in my 31 Days to Sanity book, but simply put here, STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHER PEOPLE. You will always come up short. While you might be driving around in your safe, reliable Camry, someone pulls up in a Benz. When you feel like you have “made it” in your Benz, someone pulls up in a Maserati. There’s just no winning if you always compare yourself to others.

Instead, choose to focus on yourself. On your accomplishments. On the things in your life you are thankful for. This internal focus is about self-love, self-care and gratitude, not about selfishness. You matter. You are important. You are not a fraud. You have things to offer that the world needs to hear.

Lana (1)

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