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THE PRAISE YOU SEEK AND THE CRITICISM YOU AVOID. TWO SIDES OF THE SAME COIN?

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We’re spending a lot of time over in the Starring Role Academy looking deeply at our current and existing relationships with Praise and Criticism.

Where we are looking at what triggers our need for praise and what we do to avoid criticism at all costs.

As ever, we’re in excellent company. We’ve heard Oprah say that every single guest on her show (Gloria Steinem! Sidney Poitier!), over the years asked her how they did when the cameras stopped rolling. This is the handiwork of the Impostor Complex but also, just our basic human need to be told we've done a good job.

So yeah. This is UP for us. And so this people-pleasing piece is inextricably linked to the Impostor Complex, as one of the behavioural traits we try to hide out in to avoid feeling like an impostor (along with comparison, leaky boundaries, procrastination, perfectionism, and diminishment.)

The real problem shows up when we compromise our integrity by playing to our fans OR to our detractors. At a macro level, that means we are not doing our best work.

What we’re really doing is playing the odds: How much praise can I get and how much criticism can I avoid?

So yes. We go out of our way to seek praise and approval. Why shouldn’t we? Praise gets us going, feeds us, inspires us to keep going, and bolsters us when our energy (and stamina) wanes.

The paradox of praise, however, is that too much, or not the right kind, or an unbalanced diet of praise alone really rattles the cage of the Impostor Complex (“I’m really not THAT good… they mustn’t mean it” or “it’s just a matter of time before they find out how wrong they are about my abilities”) AND so the value (and impact) of the praise starts to diminish.

And then, of course, there’s the ACTUAL diminishment we engage in lest we commit the “sin of outshining.”

As for criticism, we do everything in our power to avoid it. Stopping short. Keeping our heads down. While it’s true, we don’t get barbed with the sting of criticism, we do miss out on the honey that is available to us when it’s well-delivered and well-intended. The best kind of criticism, delivered as conscious critique, keeps us sharp, on our game, and moving us into our starring role. But too much criticism? Yeah, of course that also shuts us down.

It’s a game of discernment.

But the thing that I’m wondering about today, and the thing that I invite you to explore is this:

When does praise NOURISH you and when does it DEFINE you? Big difference with a life-shifting impact.

And then I invite you to consider the things that you want and don’t want. Do you see any connections? Any similarities or opposites?

The thing you are afraid of being criticized for is most likely the thing you have not yet accepted about yourself.

The thing you are most wanting praise for is the thing you don’t feel like you CAN accept yet.

I think that praise and criticism are two sides of the same coin. They are often mirror images reflecting back the same deep desire from different angles.

The thing you are afraid of being criticized for is most likely the thing you have not yet accepted about yourself.

The thing you are most wanting praise for is the thing you don’t feel like you CAN accept yet.

TWEET THIS

When you feel confident, you won’t be overly swayed by praise or comparison; only when there is an underlying issue, desire, unmet value, or other sticking point will you feel swayed by what praise and criticism have to offer.

Praise about my parenting isn’t what I’m after. That feels good and solid and I give thanks.

Criticism about my parenting is not what I’m avoiding. That ALSO feels good and solid and I give thanks.

You see, I am clear and comfortable with my parenting. Did I say I’m doing it perfectly? Nope. But I have accepted what is.

The praise that I seek is in regards to the power of my work. The criticism I am fearful of receiving is that my work isn’t powerful.

See how that goes?

It tells me that there is something going on internally that it is holding me back from accepting the power of my work, and I need to start looking deeply and analytically at the places I diminish. And the places I compare. (Because those are indicators that PRESENCE needs some attention, and of course, POWER underpins Presence. Full circle… just like we love.)

Let’s take it one step deeper.

If I’m really wanting people to tell me I look great for my exercise efforts and absolutely do not want to be criticized for having gained weight, well I guess that’s an excellent time to look at my shame relationship with fatphobia.

The things we haven’t accepted about ourselves will be the places criticism feels unbearable and the places where we crave praise the most.

Continue to let praise and criticism unseat you when they get out of alignment? Or learn to face the lessons they're trying to teach you and keep their power in check?

The choice is up to you.


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Follow Through

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The Unshakeable Confidence model I have developed stands on three pillars: Presence, Integrity, and Action. Of these, it’s Action that has my attention in 2019, with Integrity not far behind.

Which means I started out the year clear that procrastination and perfectionism (the two behaviours that get us stuck when we are out of action) don’t get to vote this year. Or, maybe they get to vote… I just get the veto. My business. My life.

I’ve prioritized them long enough, you see. Searching for the perfect words. Waiting on the perfect time.

And I’ve come to know that I can’t count on perfection. But I can count on truth.

So procrastination and perfectionism simply can’t rate this year.

And they won’t.

FOLLOW THROUGH is my theme for the year. It’s not sexy. And that’s good. Because when I’ve succumbed to sexy, I’ve committed to overpromising.

Following Through is the belonging to Overpromising’s fitting in.
Following Through is the responsiveness to Overpromising’s reactivity.
Following Through is the enduring legacy to Overpromising’s fleeting fame.

Following Through is, at its essence, Action, balanced with Integrity. If I Overpromise, I may get into Action, but not see it through (lack of Integrity). So it’s clear that following through is the truest way for me to get ever closer to the fullest expression of who I know I am at my most essential being.

It may not be fastest. And it’s definitely not the sparkliest.
But it is truest.

So why would I settle for less?

And so, my commitment to Follow Through is the reason I won’t share the three page-long list of promises I’ve made to myself for 2019… because until they’re complete by Dec 31, 2019, I haven’t followed through.

Because nothing matters unless and until I have Followed Through.

Which I did in January.

Including the measures I’ve taken to lower my blood sugar because diabetes is one of my family’s enduring gifts… along with the love of all the things that raises blood sugar.
And the 30 day yoga challenge.
And dry January.
And the writing.
And the meditation.
And the water consumption.
And the preservation of family time on the weekends.
And the journaling.
And the reassessment of my charitable donations.

And I liked how that felt.
A lot.

My intentions don’t matter if my integrity is eroded.

And for my integrity to remain in tact:
I need to show up authentically as the person whose insides are congruent with her outsides;
I need to be obedient to my vision… whilst allowing it space and grace to ebb and flow as the world keens and groans and hearts do too; and,
I need to honour my word. To others, of course. But above all? To myself.

If I can’t trust me, how can you trust me?
And, oh, how I want you to be able to trust me.

My capacity may be immense… but it’s not infinite.

TWEET THIS

There are a number of things that have not been checked off. In spite of how it felt, January was still only 31 days.

My eyes have always been bigger than my capacity. And my capacity may be immense… but it’s not infinite.

But as these things continue to be important to me, I will triple down and follow through.

And those on my email list will be the first to know when they are ready — join us by signing up below.
Because they are glorious.

What are you committed to following through on in 2019?


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The Impostor Complex wants to keep you out of Action. Don’t let it.

This is the third article in a three-part series about how the Impostor Complex works. The first one lives here. The second lives here.

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I’ve been sharing how the Impostor Complex wants to keep you alone, isolated, and doubting your capacity. Separately felt, they are hard to be with. Compounded, they have the effect of keeping you out of action, which, unsurprisingly, is the Impostor Complex’s third main objective.

Keeping you out of action. Even (especially) the action you want to take. The action that will get you closer to your desires. The action that will prove to you that your tenacity is no joke. The action that will help you break your own status quo. The action that will have you reclaim your agency. The action that will change everything.

Yeah. The Impostor Complex is NOT a fan of change. So it lays down the internal dialogue tracks that are the lies of the Impostor Complex:

This self-doubt must be proof that I’m inadequate (so I won’t take action).
I have nothing useful or original or important to say (so I won’t take action and say the thing).
I’m not ready yet (so I won’t take action until I’m 1000% certain I’m ready).
It’s just a matter of time before this all crumbles beneath me (so I won’t rock the boat and take further action; laying low is my safest bet).

AND when you DO pull something off that is Impostor Complex-defying, it guttersnipes that you’ll never be able to pull that off again, don’t bother.

The Impostor Complex insists on perfection. It insists on pristine conditions. It insists on certainty. And it insists on zero-risk.

TWEET THIS

The One-Hit Wonder gave into the Impostor Complex. That’s what happened there.

The Impostor Complex insists on perfection.
It insists on pristine conditions.
It insists on certainty.
And it insists on zero-risk.

And I know I don’t need to tell YOU, my friends, that perfection, pristine conditions, certainty, and zero risks are not available to us. Never have been.

So, to keep us out of action, it has us doubt our capacity and keeps us alone and isolated.
See how this system works?

And once again, this is going to present in one’s life in a number of different ways, depending on which behavioural trait has its hooks in you you identify with the most. (Not sure? Take the quiz here.)

Each IC Behavioural Trait works on keeping you out of Action in its own unique and inimitable way.

If you’re a people-pleaser, you are likely to opt out of action lest it pisses some people off. (YOUR people? Unlikely. But you may be worried about everyone else.)

If you have leaky boundaries, you may hold back from taking action until you have the assurance that everyone’s on board. (And “they” never really are, are they?)

If you tend to compare, you may be waiting for the space to clear out by others in your field before you can claim the space for yourself. (But of course, you know by now that the space is yours to make, then yours to take.)

If you tend to diminish, you are unlikely to take the action that makes the waves and draws attention to yourself. (This is it’s own special kind of hell. On the surface, you are functioning at a high and enviable level. Which is the problem, right? It’s that envy that you feel directed at you that keeps you from the more that you desire with all that you have. Yes, yes. I know, friend.)

And finally, the two behavioural traits DESIGNED to keep you out of action: perfectionism and procrastination.

Procrastination with its heady blend of distraction and analysis which collude with perfectionism’s discernment and insistence upon impeccability and unreasonably high expectations that are not commensurate with the job at hand.

No wonder you haven’t jumped in fully.

YET.

Facing our fears

So why? Why do we do this? Why do we (allow ourselves to) stay out of action when we can see so very clearly what’s going on?

Not surprisingly, it’s complicated.

And to suggest that not taking action is SIMPLY a choice you aren’t making is reductive and dismisses the complexity of your life. There are power structures at play that can and will either liberate OR limit ideas, actions and outcomes.

That’s just true.

So our job then MUST be: find out what’s in the way.

Usually? It’s fear.

Now, before you settle in for yet another coach’s “mind over matter” rah-rah speech that is reductive and dismisses the intricacy of fear circuits in the prefrontal cortex, allow me to be clear.

Fear — in spite of clever acronyms like “False Evidence Appearing Real” —  IS REAL.

And like someone shared in the Starring Role Academy this past week:

"To be fearless isn't really to overcome fear, it's to come to know its nature." — Pema Chodron

So when we feel and ARE stopped in our tracks, I think there is massive value in getting into and under what’s in the way.

Because there IS something in the way.

Else you’d be moving forward, right?

Right.

So we must get clear what is here.
To be able to clear it out.

Meet the Critics.

When you are finding yourself blocked, stopped, and not taking action, make a list of every reason you can’t DO it.

Every last reason you’ve heard in your head that has you believe (on ANY level) that you don’t have what it takes to step into your Starring Role - be on the stage, be an authority, write the book, switch gears - say YES.

Then parse through. Sort them into two categories:

Realistic Objections or Inner Critics

Is this a realistic objection? Is there an actual roadblock that is in the way or a person stopping your ascent? A qualification missing for the posted promotion? A gap in your understanding that needs to be filled before you can legitimately proceed?

Or is it an Inner Critic that holds a limiting belief that is singularly focused on keeping you from action?

Here’s how to tell which is which:

Realistic Objections (i.e. “You don’t have business training to start your own business.”)

  • Makes definite statements, but has time and space for what’s possible

  • Points out limitations that point to actions/solutions

  • Planning for a workaround resolves the objection

  • Are typically logistical in nature

  • Expanded sense of excitement (“what if” energy)


Inner Critic Objection (i.e. “You’re not smart enough to start your own business.”)

  • Makes definite statements with little room for nuance

  • Not interested in possibility, problem-solving, or action

  • Persistent and repetitive

  • Aims to shut things down and sabotage your forward motion (hence its other name: “saboteur”)

  • Often has a contracted quality of defeat (“why bother” energy)

  • May take on the tone of someone in your life who may be an actual critic of your actions (and it knows how well you rise to this kind of criticism)


There is a myriad of ways to deal with Realistic Objections. Every last objection is an invitation for a solution to be engineered. Again, as ever, as always: Simple, not easy.

As for the Inner Critics, well, for us to get past, we need to get UNDER what they are here to tell us. I suggest you listen deep in what I call the Tantrummy Toddler exercise found here and find the 2% of value that those critical voices are offering you.

And of course, you may be dealing with an ACTUAL critic of your desire to take action; if so, listen up.

For those who are critiquing your action: do you respect, admire, and trust their opinions? Would you trade THIS SPECIFIC aspect of your life with them? Perhaps they are offering you valuable, conscious critique. Your job is to discern what is true and valuable TO YOU. But NOT defer to those set-points of people-pleasing and leaky boundaries. As you do with the Inner Critic, see what gold is available to you and proceed from there, trusting in YOUR capacity. (See why this work is so foundational?)

I want to be stunningly clear again:
I’m not talking about bullies in your life.
Or the ones who try to teach you to play smaller so they can play bigger.
The ones who tell you that you don’t belong in the lab.
The ones who will step on you to rise above.

No.

At ‘best’, those are mean people who suck. At worst, they are perpetrators of harassment who need to be called in and called out. Gather your people to help with that. That’s what HR is for. That’s what mentors are for. That’s what your cast is for.

But once we know what we are dealing with, then we can deal with it.

And deal with it, we must.

Our job IS to take action.
Our purpose depends on it.

Action creates confidence. Not the other way around.

TWEET THIS

And, friends? There is no way around this truth.

Action creates confidence. Not the other way around.

To paraphrase Pema:

To be unshakeably confident isn't really to overcome the Impostor Complex, it's to come to know its nature.

Just like fear, the Impostor Complex has a job. We can't cut it out from ourselves. But we can choose better.

Simple. Not easy.

The Impostor Complex wants to keep you out of Action. Don’t let it… (with care).

And one final note.  When you finally DO the thing that matters so very deeply to you? Once you’ve gathered your cast and bolstered your authority and TAKEN the action? I beg of you: DO not berate yourself for how long it took. Because, it doesn’t matter what took you so long.

You’re here now.

And that’s everything.


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The Impostor Complex wants you to doubt your capacity. Don’t let it.

This is the second in a three-part series about how the Impostor Complex works. The first one lives here. Make sure you’re signed up to my list to receive the final one.


We’ve established that the Impostor Complex is trying to keep you alone and isolated.

But, ironically, that objective rarely works alone; more often, it interplays with the second objective: The Impostor Complex wants you to doubt your capacity.

Which sounds like:

“I’ve never done xyz, so I can’t do xyz.”
“I just got lucky with that win.”
“They’re just being nice when they tell me I did a fabulous job.”
“I don’t have anything useful to add to the conversation.”
“I’m not ready yet.”

Lies...every last one. (Trust me… even if you could argue the case for any of these extremely well, I’m certain I’m right about this.)

Back in 1978, when Clinical Psychologists Pauline Clance and Suzanne Imes were studying the Impostor Phenomenon at Oberlin College in Ohio, what they noticed at its most BASELINE was:

“Despite outstanding academic and professional accomplishments, women who experience the impostor phenomenon persist in believing that they are really not bright and have fooled anyone who thinks otherwise. Numerous achievements, which one might expect to provide ample objective evidence of superior intellectual functioning, do not appear to affect the impostor belief.”  The imposter phenomenon in high achieving women: Dynamics and therapeutic intervention.

In other words, folx who experience the Impostor Complex dismiss their success and overidentify with their failures.

In other OTHER words, the Impostor Complex wants you to doubt your capacity.

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You’re running a scam on everyone...you’re not super sure how. But you know it’s working — for now. And, tick tock, it’s just a matter of time before this all crumbles beneath you.

Now, this is going to present in one’s life in a number of different ways, depending on which behavioural trait has its hooks in you you identify with the most. (Not sure? Take the quiz here.)





Each IC Behavioural Trait Colludes with Doubting your Capacity

If you’re a people-pleaser, it’s pretty much a given that you will discount the praise of others, when they tell you you’ve done a good job, or when they invite you to step up and lead. I mean, they don’t mean what they’re talking about, right? They’re just being nice, after all. (No...actually, they’re not.)

If you have leaky boundaries, you may shelve what you think you know, what you THINK you are capable of, in favour of others’ perspectives, which erodes your confidence in your knowing even more.

If you tend to compare, you know all you’ve done will never quite stack up to what others have done. Or you may despair that you’ll never be capable of what you see others doing. (30 before 30 and 40 before 40-type lists are notorious for causing these reactions!)

If you’re a perfectionist, you know all you’ve done will never quite stack up to your impossibly high standards of what you OUGHT to be capable of.

If you’re a procrastinator, every second you spend staring at that blinking cursor erodes your belief that you know what you’re even writing in the first place.

If you tend to diminish, welp… doubting your capacity, or at least DIMINISHING your capacity is the name of the game. Don’t shine too bright, or you’ll be cut down.

It is my true and deep desire that you know that all of these behavioural traits, in and of themselves, are not problematic. We are social beings, and so the relational focus on comparison and leaky boundaries makes perfect sense. People-pleasing and diminishment have deep roots in survival. Perfectionism and procrastination are two sides of the same coin: the desire for excellence and the resistance to that expectation.

Perfectionism and procrastination are two sides of the same coin: the desire for excellence and the resistance to that expectation.

TWEET THIS

But when these behavioural traits keep us alone and isolated, doubting our capacity, and out of action? That’s when it’s an issue. Which brings us back to this time and place. To be certain, there is oh-so-much more to be said on all of this. An entire books’ worth, in fact. (Coming soon to a bookshelf near you.)  

No matter which behavioural trait is keeping your belief about your capacity at bay, the best and only way to wriggle free is by deepening into the TRUTH about said capacity.

Simple, not easy.

There’s another factor that shows up when the Impostor Complex is jonesing to have us doubt our capacity. It will have us FURTHER DISCOUNT the value of our contributions if we feel they came too easily to us. As though there is a direct causal relationship between the effort expended and the merit of the outcome. It lives inside of a Puritanical need for value to equal sweat equity. It likes to negate alllll the work that got us to this place of good work which affords us a quality of ease that comes with practice. Writing. Experience. Learning. Failing. Calibrating. Because that is the investment you’ve made in building your capacity.

But for the IC, it doesn’t count.

So we need to make it count.

The Impostor Complex wants you to doubt your capacity. Don’t let it.




Go Inside First

We need/must/are required to look long and hard and close at the TRUTH about our capacity.
This requires us to KNOW ourselves.
Our strengths, our values, how we do what we do.

And uncomfortably, this means we have to look at what we have DONE.

Oh, how we resist this. How we resist looking at the proof of what we have accomplished.
The reason is simple.

The ego wants to want more than it wants to get.

That’s just true.

And still. Your job IS to do an analysis of all you’ve done. In my line of work, we call this Bolstering your Authority Thesis.

When was the last time you listed every.single.thing you ever did brilliantly well? Every.single.thing you delivered, sold, created, influenced, decided, authored, won, crafted?

When was the last time you listed every.single.thing you have survived? Every.single.thing you have healed and fixed and released?

Yes, I’m talking about that grade 7 science fair project and the time you asked for the business and the time you raised your hand and the time you claimed what you knew and the time you overcame THE THING and the time you had the hard conversation and the time you risked the heartbreak and the time you called them in and the time you did NOT tolerate it and the time you broke the record and the time you chose you and the time you did not back down and the time you got back up and the time you said yes when you meant it and the time you dug deep in spite of the fear and the time they recognized you but you realized the recognition of your self was more valuable. All those times. And then some.

When was the last time you did that?

Oh… you haven’t ever?

And why not?

I’ve already named it as the work of the ego above… so there’s that.

Celebration offers us the chance to remember that there was once a time when you believed what you have just done was not possible.

TWEET THIS

And ALSO, we struggle with owning up to our accomplishments because we don’t PAUSE in celebration. We don’t rest in celebration to integrate the hard work. We’re on to the next thing. Wanting to want, not wanting to get.

Celebration offers us the chance to remember that there was once a time when you believed what you have just done was not possible.

So yes. Get every.single.thing you’ve ever done written out. Keep on writing until you have run out of paper then buy another ream. You’ll know when you’re done.

Remember all the times that you decided to jump and discovered that the party was indeed on the other side of resistance?

TWEET THIS

And on an on-going basis, track your wins. All of them.

DAILY.

Because in doing so, you are building a new narrative. One that celebrates your resilience and tenacity and helps you to recognize all the times you've stood in your doubt at this very precipice of your desires. Of expansion. Of a breakthrough.

Remember all the times that you decided to jump and discovered that the party was indeed on the other side of resistance?


Get Outside

And ONCE you’ve done that internal analysis of your capacity — or, in other words, realized that you are a badass — THEN you have a fighting chance of believing people when they tell you that you are truly remarkable. (I highly recommend you believe them. It’s simply the arrogance of the Impostor Complex that has you disbelieving them after YOU’VE already done the analysis.)

But I repeat: you MUST go inside before you can receive what others on the outside are telling you. And when you’re there, gather it alllll up. The reference letters, the sweet tweets, the cards, the emails. Gather it all up and hold the sacredness of accolades as true. Feel the gift of the acknowledgments and notice how the doubt of your capacity starts to melt away.

You did things.

All the things.

And there are oh-so-many more things for you to do.

The Impostor Complex wants you to doubt your capacity. Don’t let it.


Next week, I’ll be drilling into the third and final objective of the Impostor Complex. The one that keeps you out of action — even as taking action is the thing you want more than anything in the world. I’ve got you. Be sure to sign up to my list here.

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The Impostor Complex wants to keep you alone and isolated. Don’t let it.

This is the first in a three-part series about how the Impostor Complex works. Make sure you’re signed up to my list to receive the next two.


Of the three primary objectives of the Impostor Complex, the one that seems to cause us the most suffering individually and collectively is this:

The Impostor Complex wants to keep you alone and isolated.

The other two objectives: keeping you out of action + doubting your capacity are also exceedingly damaging, to be certain, in that they preclude you from getting your brilliance out into the world. On the stage it deserves. That YOU deserve. But those objectives don’t seem to churn up the suffering in the same acute way that this one does.

The Impostor Complex wants to keep you alone and isolated. Don’t let it.

TWEET THIS

The Impostor Complex wants to keep you alone and isolated.

Yes. It does an excellent job of that.

This often results in you feeling like you are the only one who experiences the Impostor Complex. Even as your entire Instagram feed seems to be ripe with pithy quips about how “everyone” experiences it. Quips that feel satisfying in the moment, but can’t quite seem to scratch the deep itch you feel about just how alone and isolating the experience actually feels. Maybe even my own pithy quips.

Let’s be clear: the truth is there is no one who experiences YOUR exact, particular brand of Impostor Complex. It will be as unique to you as your DNA, your conditioning, and, most of all, the intersections that you inhabit and the way you are perceived and TREATED by the dominant culture.

And there may even be times and places in which keeping quiet about your experience of fears HAS KEPT YOU SAFE.

I’m holding that space wiiiiiide open for you. In the months to come, my relaunched podcast will be focusing squarely on some of these intersections with experts who KNOW those places intimately well, in ways my white, able-bodied, cis-gender self cannot speak to.

So, what I want to say here NOW is there is no one size fits all solution.

But. AND.

When we ARE dealing singularly with the Impostor Complex, it’s success requires it to keep you alone and isolated. To keep you quiet in your suffering.

I’ve been ironing out the edges of my thinking on this for years and I think I’ve landed the plane on how it has gained such fabulous traction.

Desire for Connection AND Independence

As my reader, I know a couple of things about you. Connection is a strong value of yours. Very strong. (I see you.) AND? So is independence. You like to do things YOUR way. Sometimes these two values are in tension. (How’m I doing?)

You crave the connection, the belonging, but feel if you ASK for it, it makes you appear weak. Or you feel you will not get the support you desire. It’s complex, to be certain… so why bother? Suffering in silence won’t hurt anyone.

Except you and your activation.

The Myth of Individualism

“We” bought into a myth of individualism that doesn’t actually exist. My thinking on this is very much informed by the brilliant mind of Nilofer Merchant and her body of work on Onlyness. In a recent article that invites us to consider the three questions: “Who are you? Whose are you? Who am I for?” she names it as such: "American society tries to isolate the question to the first one, “who are you”, celebrating a kind of individualism that defies all logic.”

But the truth of it, she goes on to say, is this:

“We do not exist in isolation. We do not conceive of ourselves in isolation. We are social.”

Precisely.

So when we buy into the Impostor Complex’s lies that try to keep us alone and isolated, in particular Lie #12 — asking for help is for suckers — and Lie #5 — you must not tell anyone about this — we are colluding with our confirmation bias that seeks to prove, on the regular, we are alone, we do not belong. No one gets us. No one cares.

The paradox, of course, is this:

NOT asking for help and NOT naming the fears KEEP you in the stasis of the Impostor Complex. And keep you from your top value: CONNECTION.

I call bullshit.

If the Impostor Complex wants to keep you alone and isolated? Don’t let it.

When you experience the Impostor Complex, I want you to NAME it.

To the whole world? Naw. There are indeed people who do not endorse, nor support your activation. And worse.

You’ve seen it.

You’ve felt it.

You’ve been cut back and down.

You’ve committed the sin of (out)shining.

So, nope. Do NOT name it for the whole world.

But name it for YOUR people.

Because as I’ve said, hundreds of times in thousands of words, in front of thousands of people and from every stage, in every conversation and interview:

“YOUR people want you to succeed. Let them help you.”

This is my most fundamental belief.

How do you know who YOUR people are?

I have yet to come across a more searingly clear rubric for discerning who YOUR people are than the poetry of nayyirah waheed from her book salt.:

some people
when they hear
your story.
contract.
others
upon hearing
your story
expand.
and
this is how
you
know. 

Yes. Here’s to the Expanders in your life.

The ones who are not afraid of your power.
The ones who are encourage you to know your self.
The ones who encourage you to show yourself reverence. 

THEM.

They are your people. They are your CAST.

Assemble the Cast

Call them in.
Call them forth.
Tell them when you are struggling with the Impostor Complex, or any one of the six confidence killers it presents with.
Allow them to reflect back to you your brilliance, your radiance, your shine.
Dare to believe them when they tell you how truly remarkable you are. 

And then say the two words the Impostor Complex hates above all others. Thank you.

 In a recent MarieTV episode on the subject of the Impostor Complex, Marie Forleo champions calling in your #fraudsquad.

I call those same people your cast, and I sure am grateful for the cast I’ve assembled for the production that is my life and my work.

Because it’s like Michelle Obama said:

“We all have to find the people who believe in us”

I know who to turn to when I am feeling the spectrum of comparison.

Or when I am having a tryst with diminishment.

Or when I’m stuck in perfectionism.

Or I’m out of integrity with my boundaries.

I may be fortunate... but not lucky.

Assembling my cast has been my JOB. And it’s yours too.

Because it is an illusion that I need to go any of this alone.

In fact, it is nearly impossible.

I’ve tried.

And I’ve failed.

And I’ve learned.

So yes.

The Impostor Complex wants to keep you alone and isolated. Don’t let it.


Next week, I’ll be drilling into the second objective of the Impostor Complex. The one that has you doubt your capacity. Like, when you downplay your successes and chalk them up to luck, fluke or timing… you know the drill. Then be sure to sign up to my list below.

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