Do you ever feel out of place because you don’t deserve what’s happening to you?
Has anyone ever given you praise or honor that stretches the limits of what you can honestly take credit for?
If you’re like me, maybe you have imposter syndrome and you are not alone.
Do you ever feel that you are more than what people are giving you credit for?
Have you ever been dismissed at a function because you don’t fit the mold?
If you’re like me, it happens all the time.
How can this be? How can we feel we are both more and less than what people say we are, and why does it matter?
Nice to meet you. What do you do?
In her book The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who you Are, Dr. Brené Brown discusses how these types of conflicting feelings effect our work.
“[One] thing that gets in the way of meaningful work is the struggle to define who we are and what we do in an honest way. In a world that values the primacy of work, the most common question that we ask and get asked is, “What do you do?” I used to wince every time someone asked me this question. I felt like my choices were to reduce myself to an easily digestible sound bite or to confuse . . . people.”
I know Dr. Brown is not the only one who hates the phrase “What do you do?”
I’ve struggled for years with how to positively engage in conversations that start with “What do you do?” but as I am challenged enough with the phrase “How are you?” I’ve yet to come up with anything satisfying.
The Slash Effect
Dr. Brown shares a promising solution to the “What do you do?” problem:
“Marci Alboher is the author of One Person/Multiple Careers: A New Model for Work/Life Success. Alboher interviewed hundreds of people pursuing multiple careers simultaneously and discovered how slash careers – researcher/storyteller, artist/real estate agent – integrate and fully express the multiple passions, talents, and interests that a single career cannot accommodate.”
What does all of this have to do with culture making?
“Real culture making, not to mention cultural transformation, begins with a decision about which cultural world – or, better, worlds – we will attempt to make something of.”
“Some people choose a set of cultural ripples that was not originally their own. When they do so in pursuit of economic or political opportunities, we’ve traditionally called them “immigrants”; when they do so in pursuit of evangelistic or religious opportunities, we’ve called them “missionaries.” But as the wheels within wheels overlap more and more in a mobile world, most of us have some choice about which cultures we will call our own. We are almost all immigrants now, and more of us than we may realize are missionaries too.”
Maybe if we think of ourselves as making something in a particular cultural world it will be easier to claim the label of maker when we formulate our personal slashes.
Claim Your Work
You are in good company if you are afraid you aren’t enough to call yourself a maker.
Dr. Brown shared the Slash Effect in her book because she meets so many people who are afraid to claim their work.
Dr. Brown shares a story of getting to meet the woman whose jewelry Dr. Brown had bought online. The lady blushed at being called a jeweler and explained that she was a CPA and “not a real jeweler” because she only made jewelry for fun and didn’t make much money at it.
“As ludicrous as that sounded to me, I get it. I hate calling myself a writer because it doesn’t feel legitimate to me. I’m not writer enough. Overcoming self-doubt is all about believing we’re enough and letting go of what the world says we’re supposed to be and supposed to call ourselves.” – Dr. Brenè Brown
I’m not blogger enough. I’m not musician enough. I’m not Swiss enough. I’m not mom enough.
You Are Enough.
Please share in the comments where you feel you aren’t enough, and if you feel brave, follow it with the claim that you are enough. I look forward to hearing your slashes!
“Don’t ask what the world needs. Ask what makes you come alive, and go do it. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” -Howard Thurman