I was recounting my career tale of woe (there’s that negative thinking again) to a career coach brought in by my MBA program. As I gave my quick rundown of strengths, weaknesses, and the fact I somehow got into an MBA program without ever having convinced someone to hire me for a full-time, entry-level, college degree kind of job, nor have any real experience of business operations in the private sector, she asked me if I was always this hard on myself. I answered, “This is how I feel after all your women’s empowerment and networking training, I’m doing pretty good keeping the negativity low.” She said she could tell me blah blah I’m doing pretty well in life and it’s been a difficult time for anyone to have a good career given the recession and unemployment and all that, but I just have to let the inner critic go myself. Silence it, take action, and don’t feel so bad. She said that women are very self critical, afraid of making a mistake, and want to have every detail worked out before trying anything. I don’t usually thing of myself who crosses my is and dots my ts but she seemed to have a point at the moment.
And so I feel like here we get to the root of the root of the problem. There’s not much I wouldn’t give to stop feeling bad about myself, like I’ve done something horribly wrong and made a terrible mistake. I think this is also responsible to an extent for my indecision, and why I let people make me believe I”m flighty and careless and change my mind a lot when I’m really just responding to new information. The career coach also said not to feel guilty or bad about not having a career goal, it’s better just to be ok with not knowing and seek information.
I told her about how tired I am of navel gazing, of not having an external strategy. It makes sense though that everything comes from within, and everything comes in its own time.
I wrote this post because I’m sure many people get imposter syndrome (aka I bluffed my way in, I don’t deserve what I have) from time to time. I’ve been eating crap ever since then pretty much career talk will do that, probably the most anxiety ridden area of my life right now which sometimes feels dumb since I’ve decided work is not the meaning of my life and all that.
Who stops you from talking, 99% of the time? Yourself, because you feel like you have nothing valuable to add. Who stops you from trying? 100% you, because you think you will fail or maybe you even fear getting what you woant, or fear you don’t deserve it somehow. And who stops you with the little things every step of the way, like sleeping in a little later, consciously blowing your health goals, and forgetting the little things, or worse, saying, “I’ll do it tomorrow.” Aren’t these all just the fear manifesting in different ways? I guess you have to conquer the enemy within before you conquer without, without your own negativity killing you before you have been struck a single blow.
I think this is particularly relevant to areas we feel gifted in. Who are you to be so gifted? Why should you have it and not someone else? Doesn’t someone else need it more? If one of those starving children in Africa had your gift and your chances for success, wouldn’t she have already made something of herself by now? Isn’t it time to break even on your college investment at least? Aren’t you selfish when you invest in yourself rather than being self-sufficient and saving? Couldn’t you be saving more money, somewhere? Couldn’t you be eating less calories and doing more exercise? If someone else had your talents and situation, would hey do a better job? Do you really deserve to be born in the US and have rule of law more or less democracy and economic freedom? What made you deserve your supportive parents? Why me?
I don’t know the answer to these questions or if there really is a knowable answer. What I do know is that I need t o stop torturing myself and you do too. THere is a huge difference between self discipline and crippling self doubt. Now I’m just blaming it on my feelings that aren’t even real and making up more excuses for myself. Harrumph. Ouch how that comment by the career coach hit home. I almost forgot how much I detest myself at times, how I wish I could be anyone normal or just anyone else because someone else could do a much better job of being me. I feel sometimes like I am playing my role all wrong, like I should have been so much faster, better, stronger by now.
Some of these thoughts are the darker cousins to what I believe could be my driving passion: a world of equally plentiful opportunity for all, so that everyone can have the chance to realise their dreams and make the most of their talents. What the hell does make the most of though? Aren’t you supposed to make some time to be happy in th emidst of all this optimizaton and making the most of? Of what, of your self, your ugly flawed, scarred, overweight human self?
I’m sorry for all these darkness, I really am. However, I am sharing it in order to let the vampires meet the light of day. I am bringing myself into the light to be cleansed. The light of others, the light of text much more legitble than my handwriting. And dear Lord, please help me with this. I hope I can just let that go, and give upa burden I don’t neec to carry that’s waying me down from the real goal.
Which is what? Love your neighbor as yourself, love God above all, and I guess in order to balance out the equilibrium, might be time to be good to yourself. Don’t binge on junk food, don’t do anything really horrific, don’t impose penance on yourself for your imagined crime.
Good night and God bless.