I am lucky enough to count among my friends some of the smartest, most talented, most insanely capable women in All The Land.
These ladies have written New York Times best sellers. Their products have been featured in Vogue. They pull down Fortune 100 clients and earn multiple six figures. (#coolerbyassociation #ihopetheirsuccessistransferablebyosmosis)
Here are some things I hear regularly while we’re noshing pastries or pawing through boutiques:
“I’ve really gotta get my ish together. I have no idea what I’m doing on Instagram.”
“I’ve had writers block for months. I don’t have any good ideas!”
“Every time I go into a client meeting I think ‘Is this it? Will this be the time that they find out I don’t know what I’m doing?’” (said by a 10-year marketing veteran, BTW.)
When you spend hours each week reading blog posts about self-employment and social media and sales funnels, it’s very, very easy to believe that
a) everybody else has it figured out
b) you don’t
c) you’ll never catch up to those clever everything-figured-out people
But, dear readers, here’s the thing. Nobody has it all figured out + everybody who seems like they do was where you are right now at some point.
I’d also venture the guess that even the Figured Out People – those clever souls who’ve got passive income streams and webinars and autoresponder sets – they have their own moments of doubt. I’d imagine even Pat Flynn and Marie Forleo and Danielle LaPorte have the occasional moment of “WTF is Periscope and do I really need to be on it?”
I know I certainly have those thoughts! Don’t let this polished website fool you. I’ve started and abandoned a jillion projects. I’m a late adopter. I have no idea how to use Photoshop and I’m just now updating my three-year-old opt-ins. I USED A YAHOO EMAIL ADDRESS AS MY PROFESSIONAL CONTACT EMAIL UNTIL 2011.
But instead of allowing myself to fall down a spiral of “Do I really know what I’m doing?” and “Who am I to be giving people internet advice?” I’m choosing to adopt the mindset of the eternal learner and accept that there is no finish line in business.
There will never be a moment when I can close my laptop, cross my arms smugly and say “Welp! That’s it! I’ve finished the internet and I know how to do it. Time to go eat some cheesy bread!” There will always be new social media platforms, unknown readers, and fresh outlets. There will be new approaches to business and new ways to reach people.
I’m choosing to lean into the not-knowing. I’m choosing to see those moments not as self-doubt but as opportunities to learn more. I know that in those moments of not-knowing there are a million other accomplished, smart people having the exact same thoughts. We can all learn and fumble out of our not-knowing together.
Do you ever have moments of “Whaaaaaat am I doing?” or “Are you really going to put me in charge of this?” If you do, how do you get through them?
photo credit: death to the stock photo // cc
Yes Sarah! I’m passing on a virtual high five to you right now. I’ve been thinking about things surrounding this topic for a while now, so much so that I’ve completely changed my direction. It’s so easy to think that everyone is an expert. When actually, we’re all just experimenting! I’d say forget the necessities - your gut and instincts are the most powerful tools you have!
Deep down I think I know that no one has it figured out, but it’s always reassuring to hear others confirm that for me. We’re all just making it up as we go and there’s nothing wrong with that!
So true! I think it’s so easy to put people up on a pedestal because they’ve written a best seller or have a highly successful blog or name recognition for some other reason… but at the end of the day, they’re all just people with insecurities and doubts just like I have.
I needed this, thank you! Right now I’m having self-doubt because I just started offering travel coaching. I had a great first session, and my client told me as much, but I’m still wondering if people will want to hire me. All I can really do is keep experimenting and keep learning so I can do my best.
Uh huh… so true.
The old imposter syndrome. Only by acknowledging that we ALL have it, can we become empowered.
Thanks for sharing!
I love all the posts on this blog, Sarah! I think that experience does matter, but in the end our willingness to work at something until it’s solved is what we have to offer! You’re so right, no one has seen it all or done it all, we’re all learners!
There are NO instruction manuals for life, and it’s adventures. It’s all trial be error, in hopes that there won’t be too many errors.
Oh man! The line about finishing the internet then eating cheesy bread made me LOL!
I’ve been freelancing full time for over a year and I actually feel like I know less as the days go by… sheesh! But you’re so right, no one really has it all together… at least not as much as they showcase.
Great blog post!
I totally know what you mean, Andrea! When you start out, you don’t even know what you don’t know! It seems like knowing how to write/code/design is enough … you’re not even aware that opt-ins and sales funnels and auto responders exist!
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