DOWN, Imposter Syndrome. DOWN.
Last week I publicly spoke in front of the largest crowd I’ve ever spoken to and represented one of the biggest brands I’ve ever worked for — The New York Times. I was interviewed in Romania. I sat on panels. But I’m not saying this to brag.
I’ve spoken about imposter syndrome before, and it’s something I still struggle with on the daily. Literally every single day I wonder when the gig will be up. Well, not every single day. Some days, I do think I am the greatest thing in the entire world. Those days I don’t write in my journal, of course.
There are certain things I do to calm the mean, nasty little voices. I must say to myself that those voices are teeny tiny as my tenacity and ambition are bigger and the voices always must stay smaller. Of course, they don’t always stay smaller, but I try, and try I must. I picture them as these little gremlins that sit near my feet or on my shoulder that I can flick off at any given point.
Visualizing is one of the most powerful things I know how to do. At the same time as I imagine flicking them off, I imagine that I am filling the entire room with my presence. Sasha Fierce inspires me. I also have a VERY large poster of myself in a lot of makeup with my hands in a Peter Pan stance in my living room. Whenever I’m feeling inferior, I look at her and think — “what would this bitch do?”
Of course, when I have people over, quite often I take the poster down. It’s kinda weird. I’m working on leaving it up all the time. Or I’m working on seeing her inside me all the time.
For me, when I’m in the middle of presenting, speaking or representing a brand, I’m calm, excited and poised.
It’s after or before these moments that the gremlins become stronger. I find myself sweating internally (for some reason I don’t sweat much externally), wondering when I’ll be found out and drinking too many glasses of wine. I find myself speaking too loudly OR hiding in the corner. It depends.
I posted photos of me on social media last week when the gremlins were at bay, and then, in the middle of the night I worried that I was being “too much”, “too proud”, or “not funny enough”. I woke up with a start.
Meditation and exercise have saved my life. Women have helped me grow stronger. A few men have too (that’s not a slight, I just personally haven’t had as many positive male role models in my life as I have had women).
Research and preparation have been key. Motivation and concentration are bedrocks. Personal touches the audience can relate to amuse me. I draw on the strength of my ancestors, Anne Gables, Anne Frank, Joan of Arc, that woman who just lost her son in a shooting but is on TV because she knows it’s more important for her to speak against gun violence than to cower and cry in her room, and frankly, every person who has walked out of their door in the morning.
I think it’s amazing we all can walk out of the door in the mornings. This world is intense.
This is all to say that being on stage is exhilarating, AND terrifying, and I will always wonder if I’m good enough. I hope that one day I will just think — “who gives a shit, I prepared, I did my best?!” Anyway, honestly, we are all just a blip on the radar. And I will wear purple. And no makeup. And still rock it.