I started last week’s post by telling you that until recently, I was one of the many hard-working writers all over the world struggling to find my path and reach my goals.
I was struggling to find purpose and the necessary focus to pursue success as a copywriter and my dream of the writer’s life. I think a lot of writers have shared that same struggle.
There’s even a fancy, official-sounding name for what I was feeling and experiencing: “imposter syndrome.”
If you haven’t heard the term before, it describes negative self-talk, persistent self-doubt, and fear of being exposed as a fraud or impostor… even when you have objective successes you can point to. It’s a failure to internalize our accomplishments.
The thing is, impostor syndrome is not just an unfair burden we put on our shoulders… it’s quite literally a lie we must stop telling ourselves because it is holding us back from achieving our dreams.
I experienced a shift in mindset during a recent AWAI Writer’s Launch Party. I realized that launching the dream writer’s life might not always go as originally planned, but it also isn’t insurmountable, and it is always On Purpose.
An ‘A-ha’ Moment
It was this recent ‘a-ha’ moment that turned on the “I AM A WRITER” lightbulb. I’m not telling people I’m something I’m not when I say, “I’m a copywriter.” And neither are you.
You see, an imposter’s main goal is to convince you they are something they’re not. The strategy of the imposter is to hide behind a façade and convince through deceit.
In my moment of AWAI Writer’s Launch Party clarity, I realized that feeling like an imposter was just fear of failure… and maybe a little fear of doing hard things because I don’t want to fail.
Remember, I “launched” my quest to be a well-paid writer several years ago and have been telling myself these last few years “I want the writer’s life.” But all the while, I’ve been holding myself back because I was afraid and felt like an imposter when I told people “I’m a copywriter.”
But I finally said, “That’s enough! This is a bunch of malarkey!”
I’m not an imposter. I’m a beginner working toward the best version of myself.
You may also have moments when you think you haven’t earned the right of the title, Copywriter. That’s when imposter syndrome will creep in. And if, in that moment, you’re presenting yourself to a potential client, you can feel like you’re not being honest when you call yourself a copywriter.
The situation reminds me of something I teach new attorneys about advocacy.
And copywriters, like attorneys, use words to achieve results for clients. So, we need to stop telling ourselves we’re suffering from or trying to overcome imposter syndrome.
That’s not the case. You’re not an imposter… you’re aspiring!
Let’s look at that word again…
Aspiring means to direct one’s hopes or ambitions towards becoming a specified type of person…
My mindset shift was the realization that the difference between ‘imposter syndrome’ and ‘aspiring beginner syndrome,’ is the difference between pretending I’m something I’m not and being in the process of becoming what I’m meant to be.
You see, when we begin a quest and aspire to become what we’re meant to be, we’re not pretending to be something, we’re simply trying our future selves on for size.
This idea of being an ‘aspiring beginner’ rather than an ‘imposter’ reminds me of a quote from Viktor Frankl, who said, “Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.” We know there’s a writer inside us. We know it, we feel it, and we want to set them free…
That’s ‘aspiring beginner syndrome’… and it leads you to success.
Four Steps to Embrace the Aspiring Beginner Mindset
To overcome my imposter syndrome and turn it into aspiring beginner syndrome, I used this four-step formula to move forward and get out of my own way:
1. Accept Your Reality
To move past imposter syndrome, I first fully owned and accepted my reality. I acknowledged the fact that what I was feeling was a lie, so I could determine and navigate a new path forward… the aspiring beginner path.
Think of it this way, just ignoring a problem, wishing it would just go away, or trying to plow through it will probably only prolong your struggle. It did mine! It also wasted precious time and energy I could otherwise have directed toward positive — aspiring beginner — resolutions and outcomes; like living the writer’s life!
2. Craft Your Story
While much of what happens in life is outside of our control, we do have the ability to influence our circumstances. We decide our response.
Another quote from Victor Frankl captures this nicely. He said, “between stimulus and response there is space. In that space is our power to choose our response. In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”
We decide our response… that means, I craft my own story.
Recently, when sitting down to craft my own story for my Wealthy Web Writer 2021 Reality Blogger entry, I was reminded of several things Tony Robbins taught me.
First, too many of us spend so much time thinking about what we should have done that we “should all over ourselves. Stop ‘shoulding’ and start ‘DOING’.”
Second, “Life Doesn’t Happen To Us, It Happens FOR Us!”
Think of it this way… when crafting your story, reframe your struggle of feeling like an imposter as an opportunity — an aspiring beginner’s opportunity to learn a new skill, to meet new people, or view the world through a different lens and turn it into a positive experience.
3. Inch Forward
As my fellow Wealthy Web Writer 2021 Reality Blogger Finalist, Suzanna Fitzgerald reminded us last week… How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time.
To put it another way, progress begets progress. Even if you take only one small step, you’re further along the journey than you were.
Okay, enough clichés!
What I’m driving at is, identify the smallest, most manageable action that can move you forward. Draw meaning and courage from your story — from something bigger than yourself that provides direction.
Then, each day, nudge yourself forward slowly taking small, incremental steps to your dream. Sometimes the fear that leads to feeling like an imposter happens because we’ve bitten off too much at once.
4. Enlist Support
Overcoming any obstacle is much easier, and certainly more pleasant, when you have a support system.
When you have a supportive community by your side to provide suggestions and encouragement, they will see things from a fresh perspective and offer alternative solutions to problems that you may not have otherwise considered.
If you’re reading this, you already know that AWAI and Wealthy Web Writer are amazingly supportive communities of writers. Your support community can also include family, friends, partners… anyone who will be a positive, supportive presence when you ask for or need someone to lean on.
So, I won’t kid you… it takes some deliberate effort to push past imposter syndrome and reframe it as aspiring beginner syndrome.
Put faith in yourself, and trust you can handle whatever is thrown your way… and I’ll see you next week.
If you choose me as your Wealthy Web Writer 2021 Reality Blogger, I look forward to all of us getting one step closer to living the dream each and every week… because, say it with me (in the comments…),
This year, I stop saying I want the Writer’s Life, and start taking the daily steps to build and Live the Writer’s Life of my Dreams!
By Design and On Purpose…