“How does it feel to be a writer?” was the first question I read when I opened my book today. I have to confess, since starting the 30 day blogging challenge, I haven’t given much thought to feeling or being. I’ve been waaaaay too busy thinking about what and how to write. Let’s think for a moment about being.
BEING a Writer
Being. How does it feel to BE a writer? How does it feel to BE whatever it is that you do?
The truth is, until now I hadn’t stopped to think about it. Being a Writer sounds so glamorous! Do I feel anywhere ready to own that title? In a recent blog I talked about labels and identity. Is the word ‘writer’ written through me like a stick of rock? Er, No! Despite the great feedback I’ve received, I haven’t felt ready to adorn the cloak of writer-ship! Why is that? Frankly, it’s good old-fashioned imposter syndrome! Being an expert in my field is not the same as being an expert in the writing/blogging field. Every evening as I’ve sat down to write the post for the day, I’ve noticed the same question popping into my mind: What if it’s not good enough? (Good enough for what? You may well ask!)
The thing about imposter syndrome is that it keeps us stuck, languishing in our chosen pool of inadequacy. Imposter syndrome stops us, against all the evidence, from feeling successful. We look around our peer group and feel like we don’t belong. Worse than that, if we let it take hold, we begin to believe that we don’t belong and we make it our reality.
So what can we do to deal with those feelings so we’re not stuck with them? No-one wants to feel like an imposter. There are lots of thoughts and suggestions out there about how to deal with thoughts and beliefs that limit us and, in this article, I’m going to suggest the one that worked best for me. It might seem a little ‘woo-woo’, that’s because (just occasionally) I am!
4 Steps to write off your imposter!
1. Notice those feelings when they come up. Awareness is the first step to changing anything! I often take a moment to thank those thoughts that challenge me, because in my experience (and contrary to popular thinking), they are often good for me!
2. Recognise that these thoughts and feelings are a part of you (and always remember, they are just thoughts – nothing more). This is good for two reasons. Firstly, that because they are part of you, you can choose to change them. Secondly, they are literally only a part of you – and they are distinct from the part of you that is already beautifully engaged in whatever activity you are contemplating shrinking from.
3. Ask yourself, if these thoughts and feelings (that suggest imposter syndrome) had a positive intention for you, what would it be? If I use this question in a session with a client then sometimes, with their permission, we will go on to use a particular NLP technique that helps to bring any dissonance in thoughts and feelings together. If you think that you might need help with that, do let me know. But often, just looking for and unearthing that positive intention is enough to help us move forward.
I worked with a client recently who knew she was holding herself back in some way when she was competing. As we worked through what happens, in her mind, during the process of competing, she had a performance-changing ‘a-ha moment’ as she realised that the intention of the part of her that was holding back was to keep her safe. In talking further, we then found the way to reassure that part of her, that wanted her to be safe, that she had it covered! A subtle change, but one that enabled her to take her performance to the next level!
4. Thank that part of you for making you aware of the issue. It’s done its’ job – and jolly well too. Why wouldn’t you thank it and let it go, it’s done great work!
One final thought, courtesy of a friends’ Facebook page this morning. I can’t remember who it was in order to attribute it, and if it was you – I thank you! You know how people talk about “faking it until you make it”? Well, I don’t think that helps us much with imposter syndrome – the last thing I need to do is re-inforce it! The top tip I read this morning was “Be it until you believe it”. Great mindset advice.
What will you ‘be’ today? It’s not all about the how or the what. Sometimes it’s about how we ‘be’ things. Keep be-ing. Keep be-lieving!
Until next time… be bold, be brave and be brilliant.
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