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Friday, September 13, 2013

Getting the Message

It's Friday the 13th so I'm going to try something a little different. I'm going to tell you, I believe in the interconnectedness of humanity, like we're all just pebbles on the same beach or drinking from the same fountain of influence. I know this may sound a little out there, but anyone who's ever been a writer or a reader realizes there are occasions when people create extremely similar stories or articles at nearly the same time. They don't move within the same circles but they have the same, creative idea. Coincidence?

How about learning? There are many life lessons you acquire on your journey to adulthood. Some of us are really good at learning these lessons the first time they present themselves and others need to be hit by the same train over and over for it to really sink in. It's not hard to see the pattern behind these opportunities for growth. Sometimes it takes the form of repeating the same mistakes in relationships with seemingly different people and sometimes it's encountering the same article theme in different locations.

I'm reading Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg. In it she writes about the impostor syndrome. She shows that women tend to feel it's only a matter of time before the walls come down and "people" discover they are frauds; untalented hacks in over their heads. I read it and thought, that's nice. Not me. I wouldn't credit myself as being overly secure but I know what I do well and what I don't. (I can't make jello, no matter how hard I try, and running will never be my thing, but give me something to capture my thoughts and I bleed words until my fingers hurt.)

Since reading this yesterday, I have seen multiple references to impostor syndrome, in the most uncanny places, and I began to wonder if I needed to think more about this message. Am I insecure in my abilities? Certainly not. Right? Well, maybe a little...but everyone is right?   This was how my conversation went with myself last night. I was very convinced (at first) I was not insecure, and then the other side of my mind (the rational, argumentative part of me is always much more astute than my idealistic self), pointed out if you are so secure in your abilities, what is holding you back from attaining this goal of yours? I have a desire to do something I've never attempted before but the possibility of failure makes me ill. I fail terribly. I'm awful at it, so I rarely do anything that would open me up to this sort of disappointment.

And then I realized it. I was insecure. Not in what I currently do, but in what I will do in the future. It's easy for me to blame my responsibilities - I can't do X, because I'm saddled with Y - but it's more the fear of failing that hinders me. I tuck it under the polite guise of responsibility but let's be honest - it's really the fear of failing.

I have a lot of introspection to do over this weekend but at least I finally got the message.

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