What’s up Squad! Today’s episode is so close to my heart. I am opening up about my own personal struggles with two types of the Special Unicorn Syndrome and how to overcome it.
I always admired these boss-women who had it all together – and I still do Sis! They have built amazing side hustles, they have monetized their purpose and everything seems to have fallen perfectly in place in their lives. I used to think that those people were special (more special than I was) and had a unique quality (that I did not have or could not obtain) that made them high achieving. I didn’t think I could have what they have, and that is the mindset of many of us.
I have noticed that as guys come into this community and begin the journey to walk in their purpose, this syndrome creeps in. Special Unicorn Syndrome hinders us from walking in our purpose. I know this because it hindered me for many, many years.
My take-outs from this episode:
Follow the blue-print. There is no point trying to re-invent the wheel.
Using the power of positive comparison. If she can do it, I can do it!
Showing up for yourself.
I talk extensively about my experiences with the Special Unicorn Syndrome in this episode. And you might be wondering… What is this? Download and listen to the episode.
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Last week I posted the following quote on my Facebook page: “You’re allowed to be great.” As with many of my instagram posts, facebook posts, and even blog posts, I was writing this mostly for myself, while hoping it would speak to someone else. I have had a lot of success in the past few weeks. I overcame my imposter syndrome and delivered a monumental keynote address at a national conference. I had been extremely nervous about this talk for a year. It was a ton of work-lots of late nights, self-doubt, anxiety.
I killed it, y’all.
I am a very humble individual, but…I did. I ROCKED THAT PRESENTATION.
I was in the process of creating an Instagram post to catch my followers up on everything I experienced this summer, and was feeling particularly strange about “bragging” about the success of my presentation. However, given everything that I had overcome in achieving this monumental success, I had to have a discussion with myself. I had to tell myself that it was ok that I was sharing my success-not to brag, but to praise God and to show others that they can also be great.
So, I posted the Facebook post in order to minister to someone else, as well a myself.
My Facebook friends commented, liked, and loved the post. Many of them commented and seemed to really need to see this particular quote. A couple of hours later I received a text message from a friend who just started a new job as a pediatric hospitalist this year. She said that she was scheduled that very morning to give a lecture to the entire second year medical school class, but was feeling like she did not have the credentials to undertake such a huge task. She felt overwhelmed and that she was a total imposter. She texted that she saw my post on Facebook before the talk, and it helped her to realize that she was being negative with herself. She was chosen to do this presentation for a reason.
How many times do we second-guess ourselves? How many times do we doubt the greatness inside of us, even when other people tell us? How many times do we KNOW that we are great, but don’t actually allow ourselves to be great.
I am about to say something very controversial. Ready? Here it goes:
Are you still there, Beyhive members? Fighting the urge to click the “X” at the top of your screen?
Ok, hear me out.
I am not saying that I am an amazing singer and entertainer like Beyonce is. My singing is questionable. My knees won’t let my dancing be great.
What I am saying is…Beyonce allows herself to be great. She taps into her greatness. She decides to spend 8 months practicing for a 2 hour performance. Beyonce could have just as easily gotten on stage and pieced together routines from over the years, and we still would have called her the Queen. But, she knew she was capable of much more, and she put the time and effort in to push herself to the next level. Not only did she KNOW she was great, she then worked to show the greatness that she had inside.
I firmly believe that I have that greatness inside of me.
I firmly believe that YOU have that greatness inside of you.
How it manifests is up to me. It’s up to you. It won’t be putting on an epic performance, but it can be in my writing. In my speaking. In connecting with people and helping them to reach their potential.
Until I allow myself to be great, greatness will be dormant inside of me. I read a quote that said that is the ultimate sin-not utilizing the gifts that God has given me.
How dare I shake my fist at the sky and tell God, the Creator, “Sorry, I won’t be utilizing the gifts You have given me, because I am just not sure they will work out.”
What if I publish this blog post, and one person reads it and finds the courage to create a life-saving medical intervention of some sort?
What if I publish this post and one person gets inspired to start their nonprofit, and that touches the lives of many?
What if I publish this post, and one person feels inspired to push past their insecurity and make the sale in their company, and goes on to lift their family out of poverty?
Now…what if I don’t?
If I directly told someone not to save lives, not to start a non-profit, or if I actively hindered someone from making a sale in their business, that would definitely be a sin, correct?
So isn’t making the decision to not utilize my gifts just as problematic?
Today I am making the decision to own my greatness. I am making the decision to push past my insecurities and my imposter syndrome and live in my greatness. I am making the decision to do the work now, 8 months in advance, so that I can reap the rewards 8 months from now.
If you’ve been reading my blogs for awhile, then you know that my therapist is dope and SO necessary in my life!
Recently, she and I had a great session in which we discussed my struggles with procrastination, self-doubt, and self-sabotage.
This is something that we had been working on for some time, but I wanted to revisit the root of it.
I had certainly made a lot of progress over the past year or so, and this blog in and of itself is a testament to that.
However, I wanted to dig deeper and understand why I sometimes procrastinate and don’t maintain consistency in my progress.
I will delve into exactly what we discussed in a future blog post, however I have mentioned the gist of the incident that we discussed in the session in my first post on imposter syndrome and how it reared its ugly head during my intern year in residency.
Now, this experience is obviously something that is affecting me, given the fact that 9 years later I wrote a blog post about it and am still discussing it!
However, I had no idea the depths to which this negative encounter with a rude (and racist) attending had permeated my unconscious and was driving some of my self-sabotaging behaviors today.
I truly thought that I had gotten over this particular insult, but I had not fully.
I had absorbed the negative message of the encounter with this doctor. My therapist told me that this is because it happened during a very formative time in my career- my first few months of being a physician.
I was impressionable and at that point eager to please. The words that he spoke to me cut to my core.
I have been carrying them with me, deep in my unconscious mind.
I’ll tell you one thing: knowing that his words were still with me made me feel ill.
I needed to shake this loose. He does not deserve that much power over my life.
No one deserves that much power over my life.
I knew in that session that it would require some work to untangle my unconscious mind from his hurtful words, but I felt an incredible sense of urgency to make a change.
I needed a way to get this under control so that I can fully walk in my purpose.
I am a humble person, but I know that greatness is on the inside of me, because I am a child of God. Nothing and no one on this earth can take that away from me!
Ok, so my therapist (I told y’all she is DOPE!!!) gave me a suggestion that I have implemented. It has been extremely helpful in changing my behaviors.
Motivation is MOVEMENT-once you move and convince your mind that you are able to move, your thoughts will fall in line.
She thought that it might be helpful to have a visual representation of whether or not my actions are fulfilling my purpose or are playing into the negative mental model that I have created that fits into my imposter syndrome.
So, directly after leaving my appointment I went to my happy place- The Dollar Tree! (don’t judge me-the DT is LIFE!)
I purchased 2 jars and a package of decorative rocks.
I then labeled the jars as follows: Jar #1: Fulfilling my potential and my purpose; Jar #2: Not fulfilling my potential and my purpose.
At the end of each day I do a self- evaluation and place a rock in each jar. At the end of the week and month I hope to have more rocks in jar #1.
This. Changed. Everything.
I am not sure why, but there is something about having the jars on my shelf that really motivates me to stay on track and fulfill my goals for the day. (Plus, it’s so pretty!)
I tend to be internally motivated, meaning I like competing with myself.
If you wear an apple watch or activity tracker and MUST complete your steps for the day or you feel like a failure, then you are also likely internally motivated and this system could work for you!
Since implementing it, I have had bad days when I fall into my old trap of procrastination and self-sabotage, but I have noticed that there have been many more productive days in a given week than non-productive days.
This has been an absolute game changer for me!
I really love that this hack is simple, CHEAP (Dollar Tree for the win!) and effective.
What productivity tools or tricks have you implemented in your life? Do you think this one would work for you? Leave a comment below and let’s chat!