I’ve previously written about the impostor syndrome here because of my understanding of the many ways that it wrecks many of us on our journeys to success. One of my biggest incentives to write about it was to help normalize that sense that so many of us have as we advance that maybe we’re not really one of the cool kids, maybe we shouldn’t be at the “grown-ups” table, maybe I’m going to fail my recertification exam because passing the first time was a fluke, maybe I’m going to wake up next Tuesday and this magical ride will be over and it will all be gone.
Because, really, none of those things are true.
But here’s the flipside that has been haunting me a bit more lately, and it’s another of those things that seems to impact the high-achieving women I know more than the men (or at least it gets mentioned more behind closed doors). When we succeed, when the great things start happening and those things we really, really want start rolling in, we’re afraid to say too much about it. We definitely hesitate if someone gives us the opportunity to shout from the mountaintops the great things we have happening. We don’t want to step on toes, don’t want to hear those whispers behind our backs (“Well, what did SHE do to deserve THAT?!?”), we don’t want to manage the faux-well-intentioned questions about how you’ll manage the new responsibility when you already have so many things. We don’t want to outshine, no matter how excited we are about something. We feel incredibly vulnerable, and it’s entirely too easy to feel shame for succeeding.
Because, really, haven’t each of us wondered at least once why someone else got something we wanted, be it a job, a leadership position, a promotion, whatever? And how do we move from comparing ourselves to celebrating each other? And how do we move to trusting in celebration rather than judgement?
No, I don’t have a brilliant answer to any of this. They are musings written on a cold, pre-Thanksgiving Monday night when I am pondering how richly blessed my life has been this year, what a HUGE 2015 I am looking forward to, and how I’m trying to enjoy every moment of this ride right now. They are musings written when I’m playing some cards close with all but a very few people because I fear being criticized for the variety of new things I am taking on right now.
Because, really, I am embarking on some new journeys, all of which are wonderful, and each of which I can manage with the same flexibility and commitment that I’ve managed plenty of things so far. I’m letting some old things go. And I definitely intend to shine every day…so get ready. And I hope you’ll join me in shining, that we all lift each other up.