Being born into it is not enough. YOU MUST EMBODY IT. It does not matter what the “it” is. It does not stick. It does not alter who you are. It does not matter until you breathe it into you and allow it to permeate the core of who you are. Once you believe it, it is as much a part of you as your eye color. A crown on my head does not make me a queen. But walking in my power and standing gracefully in the place uniquely designed for me elevates me to a royal place.
It would serve us well to be able to make space between our circumstances and our being. Where I live and what I have are circumstantial. How I feel about myself dictates how I show up in the world. That is my state of being. To put it simply, you are who you believe that you are. Knowing how significant my inner voice is to my well-being, it makes sense to have some strategies to tune into what that voice is saying and altar it if the message does not serve me.
The first thing that I had to do was to get quiet and still. I had to find time to sit with myself and to be honest about what and how I felt about myself and what I felt I was capable of and deserved. It can be a very uncomfortable place. When you are busy or in a crowd, there is no time to reflect. I was the picture of success to many, but I never saw myself that way. People often asked me for my advice, and I was always amazed that anyone would seek or accept it. I heard myself say things like: they think I know more than I do, and I have everybody fooled. That is what I really believed. Thoughts like these were so common that they did not register. I did find them as strange. They were a part of my belief system. I had embodied them!
That started to change when I absent-mindedly made a comment like, I have everybody fooled and a friend casually replied that I suffered from imposter syndrome. I wasn’t familiar with the term, so I looked into it and for the first time, I recognized the voice in my head. Imposter syndrome is when despite success and evidence to the contrary, a person is unable to internalize their accomplishments. They attribute them to luck or some external factor and live in fear of being found to be a fraud. Imposter syndrome was first introduced by two psychologists, Pauline Rose Clance & Suzanne Imes, in the 1970’s. It was amazing how over thirty years later, their work put me on a path of healing and rediscovery that changed my life forever. You can read more about their findings here: https://www.paulineroseclance.com/pdf/ip_high_achieving_women.pdf
At this point, I have sat with myself and really listened to my inner voice, and I’ve done some research that put a name to what I was experiencing. Now it was time to decide what I was going to do to rid myself of an internal autobiography that kept me stuck and afraid to venture outside of what was comfortable. It was time to take action. I am typically a pretty open person so I did what I would usually do, I talked about it. I started to share my feelings of inadequacy with others. I read more about imposter syndrome and other self-limiting beliefs and started to be mindful of what I said to and about myself. I also got professional help. I found a therapist who helped me peel back the layers and understand where my inner person began to believe these negative things.
Over time, I began to re-write my story. I gave love and grace to the little person within who was emotionally stunted to the point that she turned on herself. Slowly, I began to believe what others had always seen and said. I began to walk a little taller and speak more boldly. It is a very liberating thing to walk into a room, any room, and know your value. That shift has changed the trajectory of my career forever. I no longer feel lucky to be there. Although I appreciate my career and what it has afforded me, I know that I bring value and that I am there for a reason. That mind shift changed everything! My inner story is re-written. I have EMBODIED the new story. The story was always my story. I had to shift my focus and clear out the old baggage to flourish and believe that I am who I am.
Once I got the clarity that I needed, I was free to envision the life that I wanted. Clarity is huge in having the life that you want. You have to be clear about who you are, what you want and what you are willing to do to have that life. With that in mind, I chose manifestation and intentionality as my words for 2022. I did not want to let another day just pass me by. I wanted to live it with intention and manifest the life that I truly desired. To aid in that clarity, I hosted a vision board party with some family and close friends on January 1, 2022, at noon. I wrote about that experience last week. If you haven’t read it, please do. It was a powerful way to set our intentions and begin our year.
Because life will continue to happen and things can get hectic and chaotic quickly, I recommend checking in with yourself regularly through prayer, meditation, journaling or whatever it is you do to spend time quieting your mind and connecting with your higher power. Chaos can trigger default behaviors. Ideally, my defaults have changed due to the work that I have put in, but I won’t take that for granted. I will still my mind, check in and re-adjust as necessary. I will also celebrate my successes. I’ll be meeting with my vision board group, the first Saturday of each month. We will celebrate our successes and help each other recalibrate where needed. Life is not a straight line. There will always be peaks and valleys and things that are out of our control. Control what you can. Control your responses. Control what you tell yourself. Control your environment and who you let in. Choose joy and live your life to the fullest!