What gives YOU the right?
Debbie had the typical career of a high performer: she was really good at what she did, and had an in-depth knowledge of her business. She also had great people skills.
This powerful one-two punch led to a succession of promotions. More power, more pay, bigger life.
Looking back, she can’t pinpoint the exact moment she fell out of love with her career. But it happened. Day by day, the idea of settling into the job she’d worked so hard to land jazzed her a little less.
So she decided to make a change, and she started her own business.
She was prepared for the technical side of starting a business — she had a cash reserve, she had the right corporate structure in place, she was gifted at networking.
She was not prepared for the emotional side of starting a business: the overwhelm, the vulnerability, the need to put herself out there not under a corporate structure, but as herself.
She wasn’t prepared for the Imposter Syndrome feeling that triggers virtually anytime we move from the person we were to the person we are becoming.
One day, during a coaching session, I asked Debbie why she had missed an important strategic target we’d set for her business. This was a major “put yourself out there” target — a significant opportunity to declare her new identity so that the right people could work with her.
“I feel like I don’t have the right to do this,” she said. “And I know it’s ridiculous, but it’s holding me back all the same.”
I don’t have the right.
Now you know and I know that we both know exactly what she’s talking about. I’ve had the opportunity to go deep with many brilliant women and I can tell you that Imposter Syndrome is THE single biggest thread that runs through our collective experience.
I don’t have the right to:
wear that dress
apply for that promotion
be an expert
tell this person (respectfully) to shove it
deliver this workshop
write this book
take a seat at this table
speak at this event
take this break
spend this much money on myself
Our time is valuable, so I will keep this last part brief.
What gives you the right to do that thing you’re stopping yourself from doing?
Your desire to write the book, give the talk, start the business, own your space as an expert, lead the company…
Your desire is the very thing that gives you the right to do it.
Will your dream take work? Yes.
Will it require devotion? Of course.
The road from the woman you were to the woman you are becoming is challenging — usually more challenging than you realize when you first embark on the journey.
So don’t make the journey harder than it needs to be by asking yourself whether or not you have the right.
And if that doesn’t work, listen to me:
You have the right.
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