My entire life, I have felt like I don’t quite fit into the categories people create to define each other. In truth, this has brought me a lot of pride, to be indefinable, and a lot of frustration, as people just never quite “get” me. As I was exercising on my bike this morning…that is propped on an indoor stand between my bed and my closet, with my “Happy Light” shining on me and listening to a TedTalk (just trying to paint a picture of my oddities for you)…I was introduced to myself. I learned from this TedTalk that there is a category of people labeled “originals.”
I am an “original.”
Many of you will respond like my husband, “Yes, you are!”
But really, it’s a thing! While being categorically labeled as an original doesn’t feel very original, I’m super excited to discover why the things that drive everyone crazy about me are also the things that help me make a visible impact on society.
Below is the TedTalk:
If you took the time to listen to the whole TedTalk, you now understand me and how my brain works a little bit better. Fast to start, slow to finish, pauses to think a lot in between, and yes, I use Google Chrome!
Through sabbath rest, reflection, reading, conversations, counseling, and the current status of my career journey, I am learning to trust my own expertise. In counseling one day, I mentioned in passing how I used to think all the people in high positions in public education knew way more than me but that I have figured out no one truly knows what they’re doing and everyone is just finding their way and doing their best. In similar passing fashion, my counselor said, “We call that Imposter’s Syndrome.” We move on. I thought she was saying that everyone pretends to know what they’re doing, but no one really does. A few weeks go by, we’re talking again…this time about whether all the pressure I feel is coming from the inside or outside, and I shared an example about an advisor of mine who I respect highly and holds an MAE from Harvard. I was expressing how hard it is to sift through his advice, taking some pieces and leaving others, without feeling the pressure to follow everything he says because he’s super smart (don’t know if I said smarter than me…may have) and knows his stuff. She quickly replied, “on paper.” I suddenly thought, “She thinks I’m really smart and know my stuff.” Mind blown. So I decided to Google “imposter’s syndrome” after that session to see what she was really saying in her brief comment a few weeks prior, and I found this: themuse.com/advice/5-different-types-of-imposters-symdrome-and-5-ways-to-battle-each-one. Wait a second! After just the introduction to the article, I realized this therapist (with a PhD) was saying I was underestimating my own expertise, not overestimating others’ expertise. (For those of you who read the article, I’m probably a combo of “The Superwoman” and “The Expert” in the article.) Again, mind blown!
I guess I’m a smart, competent, successful “original.” Who knew?!?
We doubt our ideas, not our value as a person. We fear failure, but we fear failure to try even more. There are many of us out there, and apparently, we are the people that really change the world, which is the scariest, most exciting outcome I could dream of!
Here’s to trusting my own expertise in the coming months and years and continuing to generate a high volume of ideas worth trying, to find the ones that will truly make a difference in our society.