I was turned down for a job I didn’t even apply for this week from a company that has already turned me down twice for jobs I did apply for. It was like they were saying, just in case the first two weren’t clear, let this third - unsolicited - rejection letter serve as notice that we really, really, REALLY don’t fucking want you. And even though it’s an ego blow to receive a third (totally harsh and unwarranted) rejection letter, I wasn’t being the least bit facetious when my response, upon reading said (really fucking harsh and really fucking uncalled for) rejection letter was, “I didn’t want to to work for you anyway!”
In fact, there aren’t many entities that I do want to work for any more. Quite a few I want to work with, but for? There’s about three and one of them is whomever is going to pay me copious amounts of money to do yoga on the beach every morning as a precursor to sunning on the beach all afternoon as a precursor to shopping at fabulous stores and eating at fabulous restaurants all night (also known as vacation).
Which begs the question, if I don’t want to work for much of the anyones out there, just why the hell do I keep applying for jobs?
The truth is, I have been searching for jobs because I am seeking external validation. Even though I have been successfully leading people and organizations through change for the better part of the last two decades, it’s scary as hell to officially call myself a change leader. (In fact, it took three days of this blog post sitting open on my desktop for me to type the words “change leader.”) It would be so much easier / way WAY less scary if some big official entity first anointed me as such, right?
The fallacy here is that there are a few big official entities that have already anointed me as such. There’s a mighty official looking diploma hanging on my wall right now, in fact, and a mighty official resume that details many other mighty official entities that paid me mad cash (okay, not so mad - I worked in nonprofit for a long, long time) to be a change leader. There are also a gaggle of mighty official direct reports, peers, mentees and current clients out there that can attest to the same.
So, just who the hell else needs to give me permission before I actually believe my own value?
Okay, okay… it’s me. We all know it’s me. The mighty, official… me.
Which is exactly why I’ve spent quite a bit of time this week doing research on overcoming Impostor Syndrome. My favorite piece is this one which starts out, “I’m a fraud and everyone is about to find out. I feel that every time I am about to share something. I feel that right now writing this: I don’t even have impostor syndrome. That’s how bad my impostor syndrome is.”
There are all sorts of practical tips out there on how to keep the Impostor Syndrome at bay. Lots of good stuff, in fact. But these two spoke to me in a BIG way…
Realize that nobody belongs here more than you and realize that when you hold back you’re robbing the world.
In my heart of hearts I know I am a good coach. I am a good coach because I can not only talk the talk, I have walked the walk. I have an academic understanding of how change happens but, more importantly, I have an intimate knowledge of what it feels like because I have done it. Save my hair color, there isn’t much that I haven’t changed in the past decade. (It’s a really spectacular hair color.)
I have earned the right to be here.
Also, helping others find their way to a more desired life brings me joy. It doesn’t feel like work - it feels like purpose. Why would I deny the world that? Why would I deny ME that? Because some mighty official big company won’t hire me? That’s not a sign that I shouldn’t be doing this work - it’s merely the universe moving me along to another place where the work is needed most.
But here’s the thing… I already knew all this - I just forgot it for a hot minute. Figuring out why, so I can recognize it quicker in the future (because it will happen again) is the work now. Because that’s how change works… back and forth, back and forth.
Us humans weren’t designed as the most linear of beings, but sure as hell the most interesting.