Battling ‘Imposter Syndrome’

You can’t do this. You’re too old. You’re too young. You’re not strong enough. You’re not smart enough. You don’t know what you’re doing.

We’ve all had these thoughts and, chances are, we’ve let them hold us back at some point — in sports, in education, in careers, in relationships.

I know I have.

This past weekend I attended a blogging conference in Orlando, Fla. I met bloggers from every walk of life — fashion bloggers pulling in six figures per year, mom bloggers supplementing their household income to pay for the kids’ sports and family vacations, and newbie lifestyle bloggers just starting out.

I’m in the newbie category.

At 32 years old, I’m reinventing myself and trying to carve out my space in a seemingly saturated online world. I don’t have a computer science background and my knowledge of SEO and HTML is pitiful. I have no marketing background and have zero clue on how to grow and foster my reader base.

Battling imposter syndrome
Photo Cred: Marion Yore

I’m also very much in the newbie category for weightlifting. I’ve been lifting for about three years now, which has included two pregnancies and raising two young kiddos. I won’t be going to the Olympics or become a household name for my lifting exploits.

But I know I have something to contribute.

I know how to write and I know how to do the research and contact the experts to provide value to my readers. I’m willing to learn and I’m willing to adapt — the two most important qualities (I think) needed to defeat “Imposter Syndrome.”

On the last day of the conference, I ducked out to meet a journalist I’ve looked up to for years, Marni Jameson Carey, former senior health reporter for the Orlando Sentinel, author of numerous books, executive director of the Association of Independent Doctors, and mother to two amazing daughters.

She graciously met me after a radio interview and we caught up on career exploits and plans for future writing, but then we landed on the topic of “Imposter Syndrome” and battling those feelings of inadequacy in work, relationships, and parenting.

When those feelings of doubt creep in, Marni told me she asks herself what she would want her daughters to do. A little background: her daughters are hard-working, smart, strong, and capable young women — all of the qualities I want my girls to have — and Marni wants them to have the confidence and grit to tackle whatever life has to throw at them.

So she has held herself to the same standard. She has and continues to walk the walk. And her daughters have paid attention.

And I will do the same. I won’t let all of the reasons I shouldn’t write a blog or pursue weightlifting prevent me from seeing what is possible, because a lot is possible. And I want to bring my readers with me.

So I’m proposing a challenge: join my Facebook Group, publish your goal for one lift. It can be anything from squatting to parallel to deadlifting 400 pounds. And then let’s get to work. Let’s figure out a timeline and a program that will work with your schedule and lifestyle. And let’s support each other and hold each other accountable.

I’ll go first.

I want to get my back squat back to 200 pounds. I want to be able to deadlift twice my bodyweight. I want to be able to clean and jerk my bodyweight. I want to be able to snatch 100 pounds.

Okay, those are like four goals that may take me several months (maybe years?) to achieve. So let’s focus on the back squat.

I think in six months I can be back to squatting 200 pounds. I’m going to follow Mark Rippetoe’s programming in addition to my barbell club’s twice weekly classes.

I’m going to start with squatting 3 sets of 5 reps, increasing my weight by five pounds every session. When I plateau there, I will switch to 5 sets of 3 reps and reduce weight by 15 percent for a sixth set for as many reps as possible.

Ready, set, lift.

4 Replies to “Battling ‘Imposter Syndrome’”

    1. Hi Leah,

      Thank you for the kind words. I know these feelings are common, especially among women. My hope is that I can help my girls combat them as much as possible. I think we all need that cheerleader in our corner to keep us pushing through when we doubt ourselves. I hope you can push those negative feelings away when they creep up. Thank you for reading and taking the time to comment!

  1. In “Best Practices for Creating Multiple Online Income Streams” breakout, Entrepreneur Aisha Jones, who does $ 1/2M in sales for one company and $ 1B sales for another, said some mornings she wakes up feeling like she doesn’t know what she’s doing. But she moves forward anyways. That was huge for me. It told me that feeling might never leave me, but do it anyways b/c like you said, I have something to contribute 🙂

    1. Love this! I saw her speak this past week at BlogHer and I need to get her book. It’s crazy how we can have all of this validation from others and still feel inadequate. Thank you for taking the time to read my post!

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