The two words feared most by the Imposter Complex

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Chances are, if you are a high-performing woman, you have experienced Imposter Complex at some point in your life and career — maybe at lots of points in your life and career. 

Remember, Imposter Complex is that enduring feeling that it’s just a matter of time before everyone finds out that you’re a fake. 

And you are not alone. It strikes MOST of us. If you have high standards for yourself, a desire for excellence, and a value of integrity, I suspect that at one time or another you’ve felt its power over you. And it IS powerful even when it presents as innocuous.

IT CAN LOOK SOMETHING LIKE THIS… 

You are told: You are so committed to your yoga practice. It’s awesome and inspiring.
You respond: Yeah, well my handstand is a train wreck.

You are told: This pasta is exquisite.
You respond: Naw, I put in too much salt.

You are told: You are my go-to when I have a style question.
You respond: What? I’m a sloppy mess.

You are told: You’re a really great writer.
You respond: Ach. My sentences are fragmented.

When we undercut, diminish, and dismiss what we are being offered as a gift of acknowledgment, that’s the handiwork of the Imposter.

Why do we do it? SO.MANY.REASONS. Here are the ones flaring off like fireworks all around me lately::

  • We want to be in integrity and make sure that everyone has the “full story” about us. 

  • We are perfectionists not actually content with ANYTHING until it’s good enough (“for whom?” is the real question here).

  • We cannot perceive the real value of our contributions (especially if we're "naturally gifted" and haven't suffered for our art).

  • We have been raised to be humble above all else.

  • We are superstitious. That by accepting ownership over our excellence, we’re jinxing ourselves.

  • We do not want to commit the crime of outshining (fabulous term coined by Gay Hendricks).

I believe it is part of the work we are meant to do to unpack the whys behind our Imposter Complex so that we can move past them more quickly and easily when they arise so that we allow ourselves to step into our starring roles. 

Which is why I created the Starring Role Academy, as a place to learn and experiment and trust and lean into the work that will allow you to call out the Imposter Complex’s BS, build your own foundation of unshakeable confidence, and decide that you are ready enough to name and claim your starring role. 

Want to try it out…?

I have a simple baby step you can take right now, today, to feel what it feels like to stop diminishing, stop letting the Imposter Complex dictate your responses, and put one small baby toe towards stepping into your Starring Role.

Ready (enough)?

The next time someone dares to see you and share with you what they see in you, in your contributions, in your abilities — instead of showing them where they’re wrong (they’re not) try saying this:: 

Thank you.

That’s it.

Thank you.

No more, no less.

Thank you.

Neither discount nor deny their gift of acknowledgment. Just as you wouldn’t find fault with a gift given to you from the heart, so too should you not find fault with the acknowledgment. Accept it with the grace that only “thank you” affords.

The Impostor Complex despises this because you are, in two words, owning (or, at least, for the time being, BORROWING) the truth. You are doing good.  Full stop.

Added bonus:

Train your brain to say those words and you’ll be sending sweet synaptic love notes to your subconscious with this immutable fact: that you ARE worthy of praise and acknowledgment.

Because you are.

Sure, it’s possible that your handstand, pasta, and sentence structures could use a little more attention. (Which is awesome news for you and your high standards… you get another turn up the upward spiral called life in pursuit of excellence).  

But for this moment, this very moment, rest in the knowledge that you, your yoga practice, your pasta, your style, or your writing has moved, delighted, or even inspired someone. Saying Thank You locks and loads it.

And THAT is excellent.

When you try it this week, will you share it with me?  If you’re feeling bold, post about it on Instagram and tag me @TanyaGeisler so that I can celebrate with you! If you’re feeling tender, send me a private message on IG and we’ll have our own, private celebration.

Either way, take half a moment to celebrate the noticing and the shift. It’s more powerful than you might think.

And if you like the way that feels? You’re going to LOVE the next iteration of the Starring Role Academy. Click here to get on the VIP list and be the first to know when enrollment opens again.

Getting There

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It’s a mystical land, “There”, with its seductive promise of splendour, glory, Enough, and All. You want to get to There. But you’re Here.

Why?

I have some theories.

You’re anxious that you don’t know where There is.

You’re troubled by the effort it will take to get There.

You’re terrified that when you get There, it’ll be the wrong There.

Worse still, when you get There, you’re afraid They’ll find out you’re not really supposed to be There, after all.

You’re not ready to start going There. There are all these things you need to do Here first before you can even take the first step towards There…

All perfectly reasonable fears, Love. 

And still, There beckons.

Know how you WILL get There?

Step by step. With courage.

And, not to sound too much like a fortune cookie, but every journey starts with that first step. 

And I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that you are ready enough

Ready enough to name your There — even if it isn’t the perfect name, or if the address changes on the way.

Ready enough to decide that the effort is worth it, and/or that you can break that effort down into teeny tiny baby steps. (Because — did you know?? — baby steps still move you forward.)

Ready enough to go There and then pivot if the There isn’t quite what you imagined it would be.

Ready enough to assemble your cast and remember that your people want you to succeed — Here, There, and everywhere!

Because whatever There looks like for you? I know for a fact you are ready enough to make that first step.

(And yes, sometimes we need a little support to take the first step. That’s what the Starring Role Academy is all about. Maybe the Academy is your first step? Click here to get on the VIP list and be the first to know when the curtains open.)

Before you head off though, will you take a moment to thank Here? For the ground beneath your feet. For the known and the shown.

Now, blow Here a tender kiss and set off on your way.

It’s time.


Ready to name your Imposter Complex and Step Into Your Starring Role?

Enter your information here to receive the (mostly) weekly Friday Finale from me in your inbox, and my gift to you, Imposter Complex 101: Four short videos to prompt you to think more deeply and clearly about how the Imposter Complex wants to keep you playing small—and how you can fight back.

Waiting for Your Big Break May Break You

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Big Breaks can make life easier. They feel like ginormous affirmations that we are really on the right path to THERE. They are universal winks of “I see you Kid…and it is good”.

So of course, we want ‘em. Bad. We yearn for them.

The tweet that will change your trajectory.  The windfall of grace at just the right moment.

But have you ever had a Big Break and felt a bit, erm, empty? Like: THAT was what I’ve been waiting for?

Or, have had the Big Break and then felt like you’ve fumbled it. That it was the ONE CHANCE and there will never, ever, EVER be another?

Or, possibly even worse, leveraged the Big Break but then never really allowed yourself to feel good about it…’cause after all: you “just got lucky that one time”, or: you “didn’t really deserve it”. (And THOSE, my friends, are two of the many calling cards of the Impostor Complex.)

Or, waited until the Big Break came…only to never have it show up.

Oh. Did you just feel that in your chest? Me too.

Waiting for the Big Break may break you. It may break your spirit. It may compromise your belief in YOU. Your genius. Your sacred gifts.

Know what’s a much, MUCH saner way?

It’s not sexy, and you’ve heard it before, but here goes:

Commit. Do the work. Get good.

Fairy Godmothers, silver bullets, magic pills, lottery windfalls…listen, I’m not going to tell you that they don’t exist. Because they might. Because they do.

And sure, leave a little white space for magic, serendipity, and chance, but waiting for them to show up as part of your strategic planning? Mmmmm, no.

Write. Immerse. Run. Bake. Practice. Teach. Expand. Fail. Sing. Train. Redirect. Preach. Sell. Pitch. Ask. Rehearse. Speak. Draw. Coach. Paint. Bead. Dance. Learn. Deepen.

Again and again and again. Imbue it with your truth, your heart, your integrity and your authenticity.

Practice isn’t about making something perfect; it’s about making something possible. – Justine Musk

And...

...look up from time to time. Take your own breaks. Make your own breaks. Revel in your commitment. Notice how far you’ve come. Breathe in your good. And then get back to it.

You are required to show up. And in that way, the universe DOES see you. And it IS good.


Ready to name your Imposter Complex and Step Into Your Starring Role?

Enter your information here to receive the (mostly) weekly Friday Finale from me in your inbox, and my gift to you, Imposter Complex 101: Four short videos to prompt you to think more deeply and clearly about how the Imposter Complex wants to keep you playing small—and how you can fight back.

A Poem for Procrastinators

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You know you need to do the work.
But oh, those pretty distractions.
You’d rather
paint,
bake,
sing,
fold,
call her,
even call HER,
than do the work.
Fine pursuits, all of them,
maybe even noble and required.
Of their own merit,
on their own time,
they likely serve you well.
Allow. Yes, allow.
But researching the age of the moon,
the rules of huckle buckle,
the meaning of mercurial,
the behaviour of those teeny zippy trippy red ants,
the number of layers in a mille feuille,
the right amount of oil for a pizza crust (none),
the bloom time of the oleander,
the brightest star seen by the naked eye (Sirius),
the ponies of Assateague,
or the origin of the Book of Love?
Don’t bother.
I’ve done it.
You’re covered.
So now, Dear One,
you may get back to work.


Ready to name your Imposter Complex and Step Into Your Starring Role?

Enter your information here to receive the (mostly) weekly Friday Finale from me in your inbox, and my gift to you, Imposter Complex 101: Four short videos to prompt you to think more deeply and clearly about how the Imposter Complex wants to keep you playing small—and how you can fight back.

Don’t confuse getting noticed with being seen.

Getting noticed is a wonderful feeling.Rousing, actually. A wake-up call to our capacity and maybe even our impact.

It’s that: “Hey, what you’re up to is attractive, alluring, enticing. I want to come a little bit closer.” It’s the raised eyebrow, wink + nod of “you’re on the right path, Love.” It’s the first step. It’s the foot in the door. It’s important.

It’s also fleeting. It does not endure. And it requires us to deepen in. To activate. To make it count.