I heard Jordan Belfort (the guy the movie The Wolf of Wall Street was about) sharing this idea with Ed Mylett, who is a famous entrepreneur and motivational speaker during a podcast. They both completely agreed that if you feel like you are not ready for the job role you have, the goals you want to achieve, etc., you are on the right track. Almost everyone who has achieved anything in life has some semblance of the following thought process:
I will get in the door, and then I will figure it out from there.
This leads to a fair amount of discomfort, as you can imagine. But that lack of comfort is exactly what you need if you are going to achieve anything worthwhile. When I decided I was going to be a Pro Racquetball Player, I had no idea how I was going to achieve that. But I knew what the first step was, and that was to get practicing and playing every day, as much as possible. At some point I got a few lessons from a teaching Pro and learned a few things necessary for that journey. Slowly I accumulated the knowledge and experience that was necessary for me to continue to climb the ranks. I couldn’t see the whole journey from the starting line, but I trusted that could see enough to get started. That was all it took; once I took that first step, the journey had started. I had enough faith in myself to figure out the next step at some point in the process, and that was enough.
If you are struggling with Imposter Syndrome, the thought that some day you are going to show up at school or at work and you’ll get pulled aside and told “OK, we got you. We know you don’t know what you’re doing and that you don’t belong here…” then you know exactly what I am talking about. It doesn’t matter what the endeavor is, we all have these same thoughts. DON’T THINK IT’S JUST YOU. Stop thinking that you are the only one who these kind of thoughts occur to. You’re not, get over yourself… you’re just like everyone else. But, what really matters is what you do next. Can you ignore those thoughts long enough to take that first step? Can you trust yourself enough to move one step forward, knowing that you’ll figure out the next step at some point? THAT is what separates the few from the masses.
It is easy to wait, to see what happens, to want to be better prepared before you start. For the most part, that is what everyone thinks. But the ones brave enough to take action and make things happen will follow those thoughts with something like: I can figure it out. It is as simple as that. That doesn’t make it easy, but it is that simple. In every stage of life, you will be faced with this crossroads and how you choose to handle it is what what will help determine the quality of your life. Once more…with feeling:
When you are faced with the crossroads of life,
the choices you make will determine the quality of your life.
You have to get it through your head, no one has all the answers. Some of us are just brave enough, crazy enough, or whatever you want to call it, to move forward anyway. Come join us. It is not that hard, you just have to let go and take the first step. Understand that you are going to feel some pain at some point, that you will doubt yourself and why you did this, and you will fail along the way. Know, don’t just read this, but KNOW that this is part of the process. So is feeling like you bit off more than you can chew at this time is the prep work for getting ready for the next stage. There is no way to go from the starting line to the finish line in one big step. It is an incremental process, two steps forward with an occasional step backwards. That is how it works, and you will be uncomfortable for most of the process.
And I can tell you from personal experience that you will never feel comfortable if you are trying to achieve something big. The climb up will be difficult, your feet will feel like they are on shaky ground at all times. Once you arrive at the mountain top, the fight to stay there will take on a whole new feeling of discomfort. Now that you have tasted what you have been chasing for so long, you will dread the idea of not enjoying that deliciousness ever again. So you will work harder, fighter longer, and fear the backslide. You will think that maybe you got lucky, and once again the Imposter Syndrome kicks in. Did you really deserve that award, to win that tournament, to get that promotion? And thus the cycle begins all over again…
So just to be sure you get my point here, let me spoon feed it to you. You will be perpetually uncomfortable in life. You will be uncomfortable staying put where you are or you will be uncomfortable chasing something bigger than what you have now. So, since either way you are going to be uncomfortable, you might as well suffer on your way forward. If you agree, then you are of the right mindset to make stuff happen. If you shy away from the idea of stretching yourself and growing and expanding, then I wish you well, but I am not going to wait around for you. In my journey, and other ambitious people will tell you the same, we don’t have the time or energy to drag you along kicking and screaming. My own journey is challenging enough, I don’t have the strength or bandwidth to force you to improve yourself as well. One of my major criteria for me to work with you as a coaching client is that you are going to do the work. I can only point the way, yo have to walk the path. I can lead, I can walk beside you, or I can cheer you on from the sidelines, but I cannot carry you. I WON’T. You are your own burden to bear, not mine. I am simply here to help guide the way and shorten the learning curve.
So, get used to the idea that you, like everyone else, is going to be uncomfortable in life. It is necessary, as it is meant to be a reminder that you could do and be more. Discontent is meant to push you, to incentivize you for more, or better. It doesn’t require a pill or for you to drown that feeling in alcohol or other mind-numbing options, it requires action. Plain and simple –> ACTION. You must decide you are willing to move forward, and then you take your first step. If you need to course correct along the way, know that each and every one of us has done the same. \ It is part of the journey; the failures and bellyflops are what make you well-rounded in the future version of yourself. Commit to it, visualize it, and get to work. The quality of your life will be much higher if you do.
I wish you luck in your journey, and welcome to the club.