Humble beginnings. Discouraging self-talk. A revival of simplicity. Today exemplifies a combination of the three.
For an idea to take root, it must be planted. The sparks of my recent seeds of thought have created an unsuspecting wave of activity, and I see the inspiration of my example and provoking lessons growing in a garden around me.
The humble harvest of my own garden cannot and should not be compared to others. Yet, I find myself viewing my work as rather simple lacking the buttoned-up professional edge. This critique is generated by a lack of self-confidence and a fear that I’m not who I say I am or believe myself to be. Years of life and work experience do not equate to years of structured education, nor should it. The MFA degrees and Ph.D.’s earned by hardworking and committed individuals are undeniably deserved and respected.
I find myself questioning whether my self-respect and confidence requires a title to prove the authenticity of my venture. Educational goals hang in front of me teasing like a motivational carrot, as I suffer from the pit deep in my soul that screams “Imposter.”
At the height of my negative self-talk, a book comes into my day. It’s always words that soothe and revive me. This amazing book, The Leadership Gap, What Gets Between You and Your Greatness, written by Lolly Daskal, position my discouragement where it can be defeated.
Although she teaches that confidence is built from skill and debunks a few myths that claim confidence is created solely by a sheer belief in yourself, she provides a roadmap for discovery. She states, “Overcoming the imposter gap begins by breaking the chain of self-doubt and understanding how the imposter syndrome suffocates and shackles us…Change requires rethinking what we know–the old, outmoded thoughts, patterns, and beliefs that we’ve carried for so long in our minds—and adopting new, more positive thoughts, patterns and beliefs.”
Furthermore, turning the topic of comparing ourselves to others on its tail, she writes, “There will always be people who are in front of you and behind you who are doing better than you. Everyone’s success story is different, and yours will always be uniquely yours.”
She goes on to say, “When you compare yourself to others and are being critical about yourself, this is never constructive.” And finally, the quote I add to my long list of motivational sayings, “When you compare yourself to others, it is a battle you will never win. The greatness you seek is in understanding you will never be anyone else, and no one else will ever be you.”
So now, I create a new mantra for myself and others who struggle with similar feelings of inadequacy. “Embrace the qualities that make you who you are, and give yourself some credit for your personal accomplishments.”
Once the weight of discouragement was lifted, I was able to appreciate the simplistic nature of my creative work.
I recalled the Pooh story, from one of my loved books, The Tao of Pooh, written by Benjamin Hoff, where Pooh was recounting Rabbit’s characteristic of cleverness.
“Rabbit’s clever”, said Pooh thoughtfully.
“Yes,” said Piglet, “Rabbit’s clever.”
“And he has a brain.”
“Yes,” said Piglet, “Rabbit has Brain.”
There was a long silence.
“I suppose”, said Pooh, “that’s why he never understands anything.”
The author gets to the heart of the matter, by summarizing, “When you discard arrogance, complexity, and a few other things that get in the way, sooner or later you will discover that simple, childlike, and mysterious secret…Life is fun.”
In part, I believe I’m attempting to capture what he said in the humble beginnings of writingfromthekitchen.com, “And the nicest thing about that simplicity is its useful wisdom.”
Yet, I still find myself “lost in thought”, at times. So the following story helps bring me home.
After Rabbit asks for a suggestion on which way to go when trying to find their way back home, Pooh answers simply, with a random idea.
“How would it be, “said Pooh slowly,” if as soon as we’re out of sight of this pit, we try to find it again.?”
“What’s the good of that?” said Rabbit.
“Well,” said Pooh, “we keep looking for home and not finding it, so I thought if we looked for the Pit, we’d be sure not to find it, which would be a Good Thing, because then we might find something we weren’t looking for, which might be just what we were looking for really.”
And that explains my revival today. I found what I was looking for, by simply not looking for it.
The Heart of the Matter – Write From the Kitchen
– Erika K Rothwell