Let’s talk impostor syndrome.
A few months ago I wrote on an index card a truth affirmation to speak over myself. It read, “Even though I am learner, I still know stuff and have experience.”
It’s pretty common to have impostor syndrome–I’ve written a few articles about it over the years. But it is sneaky. After getting plastic surgery, it shows it’s face in new areas.
In this case, impostor syndrome for me has been about activism. I’ve been pretty confident as a leader in teaching people how to do good well. Since childhood, I’ve been involved in social work, volunteering, etc… And since I left home at seventeen, that’s what I’ve done interspersed with motherhood.
I’ve done advocacy well.
I’ve done it poorly.
I coach changemakers because I want “doing good” to be accessible to everyone and because I believe making a difference helps us come alive.
But also, because I don’t think you need to make the mistakes I’ve made. In college I poured myself into learning how to do good well. Each year I learn how to better help without hurting. I’ve been repentant more times than I can count.
Even Average Advocate, built thirteen years ago, was designed under a white savior complex. But over that decade+ I pivoted. And for our well-being too, especially after I burned out and had to rethink the way I was seeking justice, in nonprofits, volunteering, and leading.
And yet, with so many more loud voices in the last 3 years, I’ve had to shift a lot again. Many changes are good to bring equity, such as uplifting voices of the BIPOC community. I’ve learned in this too, as I went from have very little guidance in this area (often through trial and error), to a wealth of it, even a overload.
But with so many new and popular activist leaders out there, it can feel small, pointless, and insignificant. There is a lot of Phase 2 activism, focused more on feelings, like passion, anger & naming injustices–and much less of Phases 3-5, movement, investment & intentionality. (Read about the Five Phases here.)
My experience is still needed. I still have a lot to pass on. But impostor syndrome snuck it’s pretty new head in and keeps telling me to step out, step down, get off the plate.
Even if I change how I influence, hear this, impostor syndrome: I won’t back down.