Imposter syndrome: 3 tips to flip the script

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In the Bucket List Journey, the author asks: “If you had to teach something, what would you teach?” I’ve considered this question often, first upon graduating from ASU as a non-traditional (aka middle-aged) student, followed by earning extra cash as a substitute teacher, while interning and job hunting. And, lately, as I’ve considered ways to expand my reach as a writer. One topic that I struggle with on a regular basis—imposter syndrome, or self-doubt and insecurity—informs my answer to the question. I would teach others how to break through a mindset of limiting beliefs. My limiting beliefs revolve around #allthings writing. Maybe you wonder if you’re cut out to homeschool your children, manage a team of employees or return to school in your 50s. If so, I encourage you to 1) acknowledge your thoughts, 2) put them into perspective and 3) reframe them by focusing on your accomplishments, reflecting on your growth and realizing that your. Dreams. Matter.

How does imposter syndrome show up for you?

Happiness is… losing track of time

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In my post “…starting over in 2021,” I mention embarking on a Bucket List Journey by Annette as a way to embrace possibility for the new year. If you’ve yet to check it out, give it a whirl. Each day provides thought-provoking questions that force you—in a good way—to reflect on what inspires you, what challenges you to pinpoint areas in your life that need to change and what activities you desire to incorporate more of on a regular basis. Try this prompt on for size: Which activities cause me to lose track of time? For me, this includes hiking, writing, reading and playing games. The list can be as short or as long as you like—but consider those instances when an hour or more flies by unnoticed because you were consumed with whatever captured your attention. And then take it a step further: How can I add more of those moments into my daily life?

Which activities cause you to lose track of time?

I’ll do anything but ‘that’: the avoidance trap

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Is it just me, or does anyone else struggle with this problem: You need to do something, but you find every excuse to do anything but “that”? Case in point: Right now, I should be fleshing out a story concept based on an idea I’ve toyed with for months. But, instead, I’m writing a blog post scheduled a week away. Is it because avoidance oftentimes rears its ugly head when the going gets a little sticky? Years ago, a colleague-turned friend advised me to prioritize by first tackling items that can be dealt with quickly. Maybe that’s one reason I circle around the thing that proves most challenging or intimidating. Like Finding Nemo’s Dora, who tries in vain to focus on the difficult task in front of her, I allow anything shiny to become a distraction of epic proportions. For example: I will not take another workshop until I finalize my story concept… oh look, that weeklong workshop is free!  

What thing do you avoid at all costs?

Image courtesy of Surachai at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

When you run out of margin: create more

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In November, my second three-year term as secretary on my neighborhood community’s HOA board of directors concludes. I’m beyond excited to allocate my extra time toward other pursuits in an already jam-packed schedule. Case in point: a goof up this past Sunday in regard to said schedule reiterates that my margin runs shallow. While I spent two hours in the mountains hiking and writing, my church peeps waited for relief at the information desk. Although written in my planner, I overlooked my commitment when organizing my morning trek. With one minute to spare, I showed up for service, located a seat and later learned I had missed my volunteer stint. Yes, I’m human, but the oversight forced me to admit I either need to a) slow down or b) color code my task list. Regardless, good riddance to crabby neighbors and hello to more time for things that thrill me. It’s about creating margin (and taking a nap or two).

What happens when you run out of margin?

Photo courtesy of nunawwoofy at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Wasting time or living life: what’s it going to be?

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wasting-or-living-life

My mind has been stuck in overdrive for weeks. First, I prepped for a long weekend of travel while juggling work, a yoga challenge and writing commitment. Upon my return, I resumed life: working, completing my writing commitment and commencing a new yoga challenge (why not include an ab challenge too, while I’m at it?). I’ve also begun soul searching and deduced I’m wasting my time with this one life I was gifted. Apparently, this epiphany was more than my mind could contemplate, because I ended up with a two-day migraine. Along with that, I suffered bouts of monkey brain, beginning with thoughts at Point M, circling to Point J, then R and ending at Point E. The headache and monkey brain siphoned much of my energy—plus, I have yet to achieve the simple life I desire. Maybe this season is preparing me for just that. In the meantime, I need to quit wasting time and start living.

Are you wasting your time, or living your life?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

The fountain of youth

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fountain-of-youth

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty.
Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life
is to keep your mind young. ~ Henry Ford

Who would’ve guessed that Henry Ford would not only design the Model T, but also discover the fountain of youth? For years I thought I’d know it all when I hit the mid-century mark. Funny, but it seems there’s no end to what I’m learning. And that, my friends, is the secret to staying young. Because when we stop learning, we essentially stagnate. My acupuncturist recently told me I possess a ‘youthful’ energy. What a compliment, and one I ascribe to my lifestyle—of working out and practicing yoga, taking naps when necessary, participating in writing workshops, devouring books, volunteering and stepping outside of my comfort zone. Laughter is another element that I credit for my youthful energy and which sounds good at any age. Oh, and remember: accessorize with a smile.

How do you remain youthful?

Image courtesy of Keattikorn at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

If wishes came true

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If wishes came true

When I was younger, my father said most people work to pay the bills, that it’s not the norm to love what you do. One of the hardest-working men I’ve known, when he finally retired, his health deteriorated on a fast trajectory. I don’t know if he loved what he did throughout the years, but I did know I wanted to savor the best days of my life now. Consequently, after a quarter century working in administrative-type positions that simply paid the bills, I returned to school to study my passion for all things literary. During the past five years, I’ve whet my whistle in the business of publishing which I love (most) every day. However, if I’m honest, I live for Fridays and weekends. And if wishes came true, I’d be setting my own hours, living off my writing, traveling at whim (for research, of course) and Someday would only be a tattoo inked into my skin and no longer an elusive dream.

What is your wish?

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That’s why they call it the blues

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The blues

 

The evening following a recent hike I succumbed to the doldrums. The next morning I was no better. I could blame it on the denouement of a fun-filled weekend and the start to a new week that both proved lackluster at best. Or maybe the break from the Bikram yoga hot room placed my last nerves on edge. As hard as I tried to tap into the root of these feelings, the further from a solution I positioned myself. Yet, deep down, I knew the reason. In the midst of a weekend void of commitment, I neglected to commit to the one thing that affords the most soothing balm to my psyche: write. When I finally accepted my culpability, I experienced a loosening in my soul, a pardoning if you will. And I proceeded, with enthusiasm, to arrange an upcoming writing adventure that promises to transport me not only into the mountains next time, but on the road. Stay tuned.

What is a significant blues-maker in your life?

Image courtesy of digidreamgrafix at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

Take a hike: where my mojo woke up

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take a hike

 

I’ve called the Southwest home for more than 16 years and, although I view the mountains daily, hike them on occasion, share the scenic panorama with visiting friends and family, this past weekend I fell in love with the rugged and mysterious desert beauty all over again. It only took two hours and 5.3 miles of exploring the Sonoran Preserve to make that happen. It was almost as if I saw the majestic outcroppings, yellow-white orb hung low in the bluest of blue cloudless skies, for the first time. As I traipsed solo over the rocky trail, while remaining alert for native desert dwellers crossing my path, I wrote a book. It’s a story I’ve chewed on for months—more of an outline than a whole book, with holes to fill. It might be a fluke, but I believe the mountains could be my new go-to place for inspiration. Now to transcribe the story from memory. Or to take another hike.

Where does your mojo wake itself up?

Pantser, planner or a little of both?

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Pantser planner

 

If you’re a writer, the term ‘pantser’ is as familiar to you as the beloved setting where you daydream about all the writing you wish you were doing. Basically, it means to ‘fly by the seat of your pants.’ Writers like this generally begin with a basic plan, then let the story write itself. In life and in writing, I tend to follow the ‘planner’ route; i.e., I like to know what, when, where and how something will happen. Although this rarely transpires outside the confines of my laptop or notebook, I find comfort in staying between the lines. I might consider my living and writing style more middle-of-the-road, however, a ‘plantser’ who performs a little of both—more so now that simplicity is my New Year intention. A loose outline, whether for the day or the next blog or that story idea I’ve contemplated and picked apart for months, simply sets the stage for magic to unfold.

Are you a pantser, planner or a little of both?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net.

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