Every time someone suggests I should tell my story, I develop a case of Imposter Syndrome.
One definition of imposter syndrome states:
The imposter syndrome is a psychological term referring to a pattern of behavior where people doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent, often internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud.psychology today
I thought I was supposed to “share my story” by writing. That is how this blog started. But I had no idea what I was doing (and I still don’t), or how to best go about sharing my story. I wasn’t even sure anyone really wanted to hear or read it other than the few friends who kept encouraging me.
My story never seemed like something that was really worth sharing, in my opinion. In fact, I felt like a fraud, or an imposter, every time it was suggested.
Recently, I was asked by one of my pastors if I would share my story of resilience (you can click here to watch the interview).
He was preaching on resilience and thought of me (“No one asks for resilience” he said in his sermon. I’m not sure it is a good thing I’m the first person someone thinks of when they hear the word resilient). I agreed, not really sure what would come of it. He was thinking it would be a 5 minute Q&A after his sermon.
During this time of the pandemic, Wednesday is the new Sunday at our church. At least it is for the filming staff and pastors. That is the day they record the service for the upcoming Sunday. So on Wednesday morning, using social distancing, Will (the pastor) and I sat in our Family Life Center, and he asked me questions and I answered him, telling my story, while trying to ignore the bright lights, microphones, and video cameras.
The lights, cameras, and microphones must have given me amnesia because afterward, I could not tell you what I said or if it was even coherent. I walked away thinking if they decided not to use it, no big deal.
As Sunday morning approached, I was anxious and nervous and apprehensive. The imposter talked me out of watching the video that morning.
The imposter’s voice kept asking me: What did I say in the interview? What if it didn’t make any sense? Who wanted to hear it anyway?
Sunday afternoon I received a couple of text messages. At first, the messages were from close friends. Those that have been there through the trials and have encouraged me all along to share my story.
Although I appreciated the messages of encouragement, I discounted them. They were from my cheerleaders, the ones who are still standing at the finish line after everyone else has given up and gone home.
Then I started getting messages from other friends. Friends I haven’t talked to in a while, but still know some of my story and have been in the trenches with me a time or two. They thanked me for being willing to open up, be vulnerable, and share my story.
As the day progressed (and I still hadn’t been able to bring myself to watch the interview), I got more messages. Some from people I hadn’t talked to in years, others from people that I have never met. They were all grateful that I had shared my story.
The voice in my began to change “Maybe my story is worth sharing?”
Perhaps the most limiting part of dealing with imposter syndrome is that it can limit our courage to go after new opportunities, explore potential areas of interest, and put ourselves out there in a meaningful way.psychology today
By sharing this blog and sitting down having the discussion (on video) with my pastor, I am trying to overcome that Imposter Syndrome by not letting it limit my courage to put myself out there in a meaningful way.
It is still a struggle. And I’m sure it will be for a long time. But if I don’t tell the story, who will?