It was a Thursday evening, just after wrapping up a series of speaking engagements and preparing for another one the next day; my heart was filled with immense joy and pride. Not only were my events a success, but there were also no disruptions in my travel plans, things were going great!
For the past seven years, God has transitioned my journey from being a school educator to a motivational speaker, where I now share my passion for culture and energy with the world. The sense of accomplishment after completing multiple engagements gave me a cause to celebrate until an unexpected storm hit me hours after concluding a keynote.
This morning, I would like to take you on a journey through the whirlwind of emotions and thoughts that can derail even the most accomplished individuals. But fear not, for this is also a story of resilience, self-compassion, and the unwavering power of faith and spirituality to navigate the darkest seas of self-doubt.
The Eye of the Storm: Imposter Syndrome Unleashed
"Don't believe everything you think.” -Robert Fulghum
I felt like a fraud. My mind spun with questions: "Who do you think you are?" "You’re not qualified to talk about this!" "You don't belong here!" The very essence of my journey was under scrutiny, and it would come from the most unlikely person - me. I could hear my inner critic's voice growing louder and louder, and it was nothing I could do to shut it off.
No matter how many people approached me afterward to share how much they enjoyed my talk, it wasn't enough to drown out the voices now putting me down and having me question my existence.
Imposter syndrome—a tormentor that thrives on our doubts and insecurities, reducing us to shadows of our true potential. It strikes when we least expect it, like an uninvited guest at the grandest party. But as I've learned, acknowledging this storm brewing within is the first step toward facing it head-on.
In the grip of imposter syndrome, the emotions can be overwhelming. Anxiety, self-doubt, and fear become heavy, threatening to drown us in a sea of negativity. But amidst this storm, I found strength in understanding that emotions are not our identity—they move like clouds drifting across the sky, and they, too, will eventually pass.
Instead of fighting or denying these emotions, I decided to lean into them. I gave myself permission to feel vulnerable, recognizing that it's okay to experience moments of uncertainty. By accepting these emotions, I was no longer at their mercy but took control of my own narrative.
Self-Compassion: My umbrella against the storm
In the face of imposter syndrome, I learned the value of self-compassion. Rather than beating myself up for feeling inadequate, I offered myself grace. I reminded myself that even the most experienced individuals can be haunted by these feelings. Self-compassion became my umbrella against the storm, protecting me from self-deprecation and harsh judgment.
I told myself that this moment was just one cloud in the vast sky of my journey. It would pass, and brighter days would follow. Remember, we are not defined by our doubts and fears but by the courage to press on despite them.
The following day, as I stood before another audience, I chose to share my struggle with imposter syndrome openly. Instead of hiding behind the mask of perfection, I embraced vulnerability. To my surprise, the audience was tuned in to what I was sharing as if it were their own experience. One participant whispered, "What did you do?" I had an answer. I chose not to think the problem away; I embraced it as if I was the observer trying to understand where it was coming from. But most importantly, I gave myself grace. I remembered the saying, "Whatever we resist will persist," I allowed the feelings to enter with no judgment knowing it would eventually move on.
By baring my vulnerability, I created a connection with the audience that transcended mere words. They, too, could relate to the battle against their inner critics. As I shared my journey from doubt to determination, I inspired others to embrace their imperfections and transform them into powerful strengths.
The storm of imposter syndrome may try to consume you at times but know that you possess the power to navigate these turbulent waters. Embrace vulnerability, offer yourself compassion, and understand that these moments are fleeting.
Remember, just as the sun rises after the darkest night, you will emerge from the shadows of doubt stronger than before. Embrace the beauty that lies beneath every struggle, for it is in these moments that we discover our true resilience. And as we journey through these storms, we'll find that the power of our minds can indeed shape a brighter future—one where imposter syndrome loses its grip, and we emerge as triumphant conquerors of our destinies.
I leave you with this quote from Marianne Williamson, A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of "A Course in Miracles"
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, 'Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?' Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It's not just in some of us; it's in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Your journey, like mine, has the potential to inspire and change lives. Let's empower each other to embrace vulnerability and move through the storms, knowing that the sun will always shine upon the horizon of our dreams.
Sending you beautiful energy on this beautiful Sunday,