The road to create anything from scratch is a hard one. Whether you are starting a new business, embarking on a new career, starting a new project, building a new invention, or creating new artwork — moving in a new direction of any sort, or even re-building something that you already started in the past — is not easy. The key ingredient I’ve discovered to propel you forward is believing in yourself.
It’s easier said than done, though.
The thing that stops most people, myself included, is that somewhere along the way, we get discouraged, feel unworthy, or think we are just not qualified for the job at hand.
Perhaps you’ve experienced some setbacks, delays, opposition, blocks, or hurdles. Often times it’s our own mind that is attacking us (or the enemy’s attacks), making us feel that we’re just not good enough.
Of course we’re not good enough… yet! Beginners are not masters yet.
Everyone goes through this. It is a normal part of the process.
No matter how successful someone has become, at some point, everyone has come across a point where they didn’t feel qualified. The term used these days for this is “imposter syndrome.”
No matter who you are, we’ve all experienced this at some point in our lives.
Everyone experiences this… even if you have a graduate degree or worked up the corporate ladder to a high position, you’ll experience imposter syndrome. This feeling may be magnified if you’ve gone through a career change, launched a new business, just had children, or floundered with which direction to go in your life. Either way, we’ve all been there.
Everyone, at all levels, in every field, encounters this feeling at some point. The question is… how well can you ignore it and move past this feeling so that it doesn’t cripple you?
It doesn’t matter how many successes we’ve achieved or how many failures we’ve experienced. Whenever we embark on something new in our life where the progression feels like a jump rather than an incremental step, you’ll feel this resistance within yourself.
Every time you’ve started something new, it probably felt very uncomfortable.
- If you’re used to working behind the scenes, suddenly being thrust onto a stage can feel very intimidating.
- If you’re used to working with people one on one, having to all of a sudden work on something technical can be extremely daunting.
- If you’re used to working in the arts and have to go into business, it’s a challenge. And vice versa!
- If you’re used to working in a corporate environment and then decide to go out on your own as an entrepreneur, fear can suddenly come after you incessantly.
- If you’re used to staying at home with children, getting a job outside of the home can feel like a huge change. The same goes for the reverse. Going from a corporate job to suddenly staying at home can bring up so many emotions of not being able to do the job, and wanting to go back to an office setting.
Every time you launch into a new territory and enter a new space that is different than where you’ve been, you’ll be going past your comfort zone. Every time you go past your comfort zone, imposter syndrome is waiting for you.
If you haven’t hit it yet, be ready. It always shows up.
When it hits, it means you’re growing, expanding, and filling up new shoes.
Of course we’ll never feel worthy.
We never feel worthy of something we haven’t done yet!
How do you begin to feel worthy and confident in a new area you’re heading into?
Honestly, the only way I’ve found to feel confident in a new area is to just do that thing… and do it over and over again… and over and over again… and again… and again… and again… and on and on, until you’ve done it at least 100x. I know, it’s a lot of times!
But, after 100 iterations of that new thing… you will have gained confidence in it.
Confidence comes from seeing that you did it! And each time you do it, you will have improved just a little bit. As you improve, your confidence will also grow.
You have to do the work.
100 times will lead to 1000 times, and as you walk this path, you will eventually enter into that famed 10,000 hour rule… the 10,000 hours that leads to mastery.
No subject is exempt from this.
Have you seen the show, “The Secret Millionaire”? I remember seeing an episode where the undercover CEO of a hotel worked as staff to help clean hotel rooms and do labor he’s not used to. And guess what? He was very bad at it. He was reprimanded by his own staff. It was a pretty funny episode.
It doesn’t matter WHAT the task is. There is no ranking of high or low in terms of its value. There may be a different price tag placed on different skills in the market place based on what people are willing to pay for it, but that does not make that skill less valuable.
Sure, there are some skills that we really weren’t designed for. For example, I’m a small, petite woman. I can never play pro football or basketball, but I know that I was not designed for such a job, nor do I have the desire to go in that direction. I wouldn’t recommend you pursue things that you obviously weren’t created for.
Perhaps there are things that you try that you’re not getting the results you wanted at first.
That’s ok. That’s expected.
If it’s in your heart to go in that particular direction, and you’ve consulted with God to see if that’s the direction He wants for you and received confirmation, you’re going in the right direction.
All you need is more practice.
To get that practice, you need to commit.
Believing in yourself does not come from believing that you are amazing at what you want to do. Believing in yourself means that you believe you will DO THE WORK to get there because you will commit.
Remember the scripture, “The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few.”Luke 10:2
This may apply to your field as well. God needs you to steward the direction and skills He’s given you… to labor and work to bring in the harvest that He has for you.
There are many who want the harvest. Unfortunately, not all want to labor, and many don’t persevere until the end.
What “Doing the Work” Looks Like in My Life
I’ve spent many, many years embarking on new thing after new thing. It looked like I was chasing “shiny object syndrome” on the outside, but inside I knew that God was directing me to new things. I consulted Him, received confirmation, and He had me switch into new directions for reasons unknown to me.
I know now that He wanted me to gather the tools (skills) I would need for the real work He would have me do in the future.
The road was quite long and confusing, and I felt imposter syndrome all the way, at every step, with each new thing. But, what I learned was that I could master anything if I just gave it the time, focus, and the number of iterations required to improve.
By iterations, I don’t mean try it a few times, fail, and say… “Oh, I’m no good at this.” By iterations, I mean, I try 100x, improve just a little bit, then ask myself, ”what do the pros know that I don’t?” I research, find those answers, and then I study them and learn from them. Sometimes it takes buying classes to learn from them.
Then, I embark on my next 100 iterations to improve. I repeat by learning some more and applying it, then repeat that process again, and again, year after year after year. It’s a process of commitment, perseverance, grit, picking yourself up from failure, and enduring.
But then, you know what?
It starts to become easy.
It starts to become second nature.
Knowing this has been quite freeing. Now, when I’m thrown a new project, I don’t freak out and think I can‘t do it. I just know there is a ton of work ahead of me. I know that after 2 years of consistent, dedicated, focused work, I will be surprised at how far I had come from knowing absolutely nothing.
2 years becomes 5 years, and then 10 years of doing the work if you stick to it… and sometimes it’s work behind the scenes, and sometimes not getting paid for it. But, as long as you don’t quit, those 10 years will turn into 10,000 hours, and one day you will walk into mastery.
There are many new areas where God is bringing in new things into my life, and this cycle begins again. I may have mastered some areas, but I’m a beginner in so much more.
Once you understand this concept… believing in yourself is quite simple.
It’s not about how good you are at the thing you are trying to do. It’s about how willing you are to do the work it will take to get good at the thing you are trying to do.
Of course you haven’t made it yet. You haven’t put in the 10,000 hours of work yet. Or maybe you have! Sometimes, there are reasons where the breakthrough hasn’t yet happened because of God’s timing. God’s timing is mysterious, but it’s perfect.
Your time is coming.
Just be faithful in doing the work… no matter how slow progress may seem, and no matter how slow you go. The journey of a million miles always begins with 1 step… and then another, and then another.
Often we think that we will achieve victory at mile 10. But, most of the time, the journey is a lot longer than you think. The journey may be 1,000,000 miles, not 10, not 100, and not even 1,000. But, once you get to mile 10, the journey from 11-100 gets easier. Then, the journey of 100-1000 gets even easier. The first 10 miles are often the hardest. Knowing that can help you push through.
If you understand that the beginning is always the hardest, you won’t feel disheartened when things don’t go right at mile 11. You are still at the beginning of your journey, but if you just continue, one day, all that labor you put in will begin to bear fruit, and you will be surprised to see that all that effort will begin to show.
I often reflect and realize that I am actually glad that some of my journey was completed in private rather than in a public setting. I may not have gotten paid for a lot of the work I’ve been doing behind the scenes, but it gave me time to develop my skills without feeling embarrassed.
Sometimes God allows you to work behind the scenes so that you can master your craft in private before you have a public platform for your success.
Go out, and forget about imposter syndrome. Just dig deep to see how badly you want to pursue the new direction. If you really want it, commit… really commit. As you do the work, imposter syndrome will fade, and you will begin to believe in yourself because you’ve achieved what you previously thought you couldn’t.
Do your work diligently and earnestly for the Lord.
You will succeed. I believe in you!