So, I’ve been working on some stuff.
For the past 8 years, I’ve wrestled with self-doubt. With feeling like I was never enough – of anything – and that sooner or later, the jig would be up and everyone would know I’ve been faking my way through all of this for a long time now.
Turns out that feeling has a name, and it’s known as imposter syndrome, or the Impostor Phenomenon in more clinical circles.
I was also convinced that our hyperconnected world of 24/7/365 social media comparison and interaction makes these feelings worse when they’re already simmering. And I’ve spent the last several years in therapy working through my own feelings, during which I’ve actually learned quite a bit about what it takes to keep these demons at bay (or at least tethered to a tree somewhere out of sight most days).
So, I’ve been digging in and writing about it. And then on a whim, I pulled together a talk about it. And then someone actually asked me to come give that talk at a conference.
And so, the #fraudsquad was born.
That’s the name I gave my fellow self-doubters, the people that kept putting their hand over their mouth going “Oh my god, it has a NAME? I have felt that way forever!”. It’s really oddly reassuring to find a posse of people who share your same struggles with feeling valid or capable. And yep, there are a lot of us out here. Science says as much as 70% of the population has probably felt like an imposter at one time or another.
Does it help to know you’re not alone here?
Over time, this has become a bit of a “soul hustle” as one friend termed it the other day. A project that’s intensely personal, that speaks to my heart as well as my mind, and feels like the thing I’m supposed to do right now. Mostly because I feel like if I can help a few people tame those runaway voices with some actions and techniques and give us all a sense of community, camaraderie and belonging, we can maybe diminish the impact of constant comparing, persistent worries about self-worth and value, and wondering whether we’ll ever truly be enough.
The irony, of course, is that I’ve been experiencing a LOT of imposter syndrome about doing a project on imposter syndrome. When one agent told me he didn’t think a book on this topic was really marketable, I wanted to burn the manuscript and walk away. But then I remember how much rejection is a part of writing, and how many people have told me they need this book, and I keep plugging along.
So I wanted to give you all a few starting points if this project sounds interesting.
The Research Survey
I’m doing some research to inform the book, one piece of which is a quick 5 minute survey that I’m hoping you’ll take. You have to quick sign up over here, and you’ll get an email with the survey link and the access password.
I’ll be sharing the results as I get further along with the book itself, so stay tuned for that. You can also sign up for email updates on that page (separate from the survey for those that don’t want to be added to lists just to help with the research).
The Fraud Squad on Facebook
If you fancy talking with others who have experienced these kinds of feelings of self-doubt and inadequacy, welcome to the club! We have a private group forming over on Facebook so we can share and chat and get to know each other.
You can also like the FB Page to keep up with the project updates and some writing/thinking on the topic.
The Real Deal Series on LinkedIn
Not a FB person? No problem. I’m writing one of the first Series on LinkedIn (it’s a new product in private beta right now), and I’m writing on imposter syndrome.
You can check out the latest installment of The Real Deal here, and subscribe to the series on LinkedIn right at the top of the article so you can get notified when I publish a new one each week. I’m also contemplating a group on LinkedIn for this topic for those that prefer LinkedIn to Facebook. We recently revamped groups at LinkedIn, so if this is something you’d be interested in, let me know!
The Keynote Speech
If you’d like to see the inaugural keynote speech for this talk, you can check it out over on my speaking page. Special thanks to my friends at the High 5 Conference for taking a chance and letting me bring this bold, personal talk to their event.
And of course if you organize an event or are someone who helps select content for events, I’d love to talk to you about bringing this talk to your stage. I’m very happy with the initial reception and excited about all the ways I know I can make it better in its future iterations.
I’m still in the process of exploring options for getting the book published. I’m pulling together a formal proposal (nonfiction publishers like that sort of thing) and marketing plan like all good authors do.
I’d really like to go the traditional publisher route for this project, but I’m not opposed to self-publishing. We’ll see what options bubble up best in the coming weeks. If you have an agent or an editor who you think needs to know about this project, I’d welcome an introduction or a name.
I’m also going to (finally) start the interviews with people that I solicited a couple of months ago, and use those as the backbone of new episodes for a Fraud Squad podcast. Yes, I’m really going to do it. Maybe. If fear doesn’t stop me first. 🙂
It’s a funny thing to come out of the fog of many, many years of wandering a little lost and wondering WTF you’re still doing out here only for something to take hold of you like this in a direction you didn’t anticipate.
But this project has pulled all sorts of powerful emotions out of me, and its given me a spark that I thought I might not ever feel again. So I know it’s something I need to do, one way or the other. There’s something here, and I have to follow my gut and see where it goes.
To all of you who have already done the survey or joined the group or in general just reached out to say YOU GO, GIRL, thank you. From the bottom of my heart. It’s scary to put heart work like this out into the world, but bravery is the seat of transformative things, and so I’m going to give this a go. I couldn’t do it without your support.
I hope you’ll put your hand up and be part of the #fraudsquad. We’re gonna get t-shirts (yes, really) and in the meantime, maybe just change our lives – and the lives of many others – for the better.
Are you in?