About imposter syndrome and owning your talents.

I was talking to a friend the other day about imposter syndrome. Because I like using big words to talk about myself, apparently. Wikipedia calls it “a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a fraud. Basically, it means feeling like an amateur at something no matter how accomplished you really are.

impostor_syndrome

A few months ago I took a creative writing class at my local community college. I have a degree in English: Writing & Communications. I’ve had work published in my school’s literary journal, I ran the school newspaper for two years, I’ve been writing poetry and short stories for as long as I can remember and blogging as long as I’ve been mothering. I don’t know that I’d call myself a professional but I have experience in the field and sometimes I even like my writing. Weird, right? But after eleven years of mothering, I found myself in a rut creatively and I thought taking a class with other writers might help (spoiler: it totally did).

When I showed up to the first class and the teacher asked us to introduce ourselves and tell the class what we write I found myself mumbling something along the lines of “Hi my name is Jen, I’m a stay at home mom and I’m kind of new to writing. I don’t really have a specialty.” Wait, what? NEW? I don’t know if I downplayed my writing experience for the glory of being judged as an amateur or if my eleven years of parenting make me feel like I’m moving backward instead of forwards. Or if I’m just really weird. But I am not “new to writing” by any stretch of the imagination.

The truth is that there is a little voice in the back of my mind that is always warning me that I’m probably not very good at this. Even if I amuse myself with my writing and people have been kind in the past – it doesn’t make me a good writer. How many horrible poems have we been forced to read by a friend or classmate? Who’s to say that I’m not another person with terrible poetry. More over, my inability to finish any of the novels I’ve started must be proof of my inadequacy, right? Or the fact that I wake up every morning to find that I’m still not J.K. Rowling?

And it’s not just about writing. I do the same thing with my photography and frankly with my life. I downplay any accomplishment so that when someone finally tells me how mediocre I am, it won’t be too big of a shock.

They say that we are our own worst critic and that is definitely true – but how do we stop being that awful troll booing loudly through our piano recitals and writing sessions? How do we start patting ourselves on the back and staking our claim – how do we find the bravery to tell the world that we’re awesome and talented and that we may never be J.K. Rowling but that someday a struggling writer might lament the fact that they aren’t US?

I wish I could tell you that I have an answer but the truth is that right now I’ve just got an “I noticed a problem and want to do better.” But maybe that’s the first step to figuring this out. Sometimes naming the demon is the best way to vanquish it.

Let’s try something: Name something you are GOOD at. Just blurt it out right now – out loud. I promise I’m not really listening – but say it out loud before your inner internet troll can tell you that you are wrong. CLAIM that talent today. Feel free to tell me about it in the comments.

Do you struggle with this problem?

What are you GOOD at?

What Would The First Lady Say? 10 Quotes for Moving Forward.

behind-every-great-man-is-a-woman-rolling-her-eyes-quote-1

Is anyone else just exhausted with the world right now? I’m not going to get political because ugh my heart is just not hearing it right now and I think that you can already find those kinds of words on literally every corner of the internet right now.

But if you are running low on motivation and momentum and just need to hear something to pick you back up again so you can log onto Facebook without hurting somebody, keep scrolling. I’ve often found that many of the first ladies of our country’s history are the real rock stars in the White House.

I’ve found myself turning to them a lot these past few months – they are a wellspring of motivation and as I dug into the internet this morning I found loads of amazing quotes from First Ladies over the years. Here are some of my favorites:

Michelle Obama

To get yourself off the floor and moving forward.

pow15cj00sccoap31woaez2ayquote-michelle-obama-choose-people-who-lift-you-up-144696_1

Eleanor Roosevelt

For when you are feeling down on yourself or feeling the need to defend your opinions.

30e0ead5940182acf9b905f48f8f3290downloadhqdefault

Martha Washington

For when you can’t seem to find that happy anywhere!

c977edf5cf18e235be308bf8b82854ea

Abigail Adams

When you find yourself in discussion with people you don’t agree with.

quote-i-ve-always-felt-that-a-person-s-intelligence-is-directly-reflected-by-the-number-of-abigail-adams-0-15-57

Laura Bush

Because we are more united than the Media wants us to believe.

quote-maybe-it-is-the-media-that-has-us-divided-laura-welch-bush-28615

Rosalynn Carter

For when you want to know what you can do to make a difference.

quote-do-what-you-can-to-show-you-care-about-other-people-and-you-will-make-our-world-a-better-place-rosalynn-carter-32999

PSA: Read this before you rant about Facebook’s Privacy Settings again…

HEY EVERYBODY ON FACEBOOK, STOP AND READ THIS – YOU TOO, MR. JUST SCROLLIN BY!

All right, strap in boys and girls. Pause a moment and listen up, because sharing news links seems to have no effect, no matter how many time I’ve see this flit through my news feed lately. I wrote this on Facebook recently but it bears repeating:

POSTING A COPYRIGHT NOTICE DOES JACK SQUAT ABOUT YOUR ACTUAL ACCOUNT PRIVACY.

There’s a little things called Terms of Service (click the link to read the ToS), which you all agreed to when you created your Facebook account. No matter what you post on your wall, the ToS will always trump it in court. That little ‘Don’t take my stuff!‘ post by itself is legally useless.

In case you missed it, here’s that handy-dandy little link to the ToS right here:
https://www.facebook.com/legal/terms

“BUT GUISE FACEBOOK WILL HAVE ALL MY PICS AND POSTS AND INFO AND STUFF AND THEN THEY’RE GONNA GIVE IT TO EVERYBODY!!!”

This only works if your PRIVACY SETTINGS are set to PUBLIC.

So, click on that link I just put up there. The VERY FIRST SECTION is called Privacy – it’s like they’ve noticed we get concerned about that sometimes. In it is a link to their Data Use Policy (click that and read it, too).

In it is all the info on what they collect, and what they do with it. I HIGHLY recommend you go and read through the links on the Privacy page if you want to be an informed Facebook user.

The links explain (in order):

  1. What info they collect and what they do with it.
  2. How to keep your posts / timeline, private. How people can find you.
  3. How your info is used on the site, in pages, groups, and game apps.
  4. Advertising and how they use user info to customize it.
  5. Use of Cookies, basically a little of HOW they get their info.
  6. Other Info and Security odds and ends that don’t fit anywhere, but still worth looking at.

This stuff isn’t even written in legalese. It’s pretty easy to understand. So take a few minutes, and go read it.

Looking further into the ToS, it gets even better:
“Section 2. Sharing Your Content and Information.”

The very first line clearly states that YOU OWN ALL CONTENT AND INFO YOU POST. And that YOU, yes you, Charlie Brown, control how it’s used. However, if it is set to Public, then Facebook gets to do whatever the heck it wants. (Do note, that Public is the default setting.) Go. Read. This.

TL;DR: FACEBOOK DOES NOT SHARE YOUR PROFILE INFORMATION IF THE SECURITY SETTING IS NOT SET TO PUBLIC. This includes your posts, pictures, and contact information unless you leave it that way. Everything else can be hidden/friends only/etc. Exception: Your name, profile pic, network, gender, and username will always public. This is the only thing you cannot change.

So go click on the CLOSED PADLOCK ICON to the right of the little World that notifies you whenever a fly sneezes, next click on SEE MORE SETTINGS. And then set WHATEVER YOU WANT TO PRIVATE and quit worrying already. Geeze.

(I also recommend clicking on “Timeline and Tagging” on the left hand side of that page and adjusting those settings too.)

Note: There have been times when Facebook will update something it ends up resetting all the security settings back to the default setting – Public. So check your settings once in a while, especially when FB updates how they work.

Fin.

kimhates