Tag Archive | insecurity

The Great Imposter

@ninagarcia: “The greater the artist, the greater the doubt. Perfect confidence is granted to the less talented as a consolation prize.” Robert Hughes

When I read the tweet from Nina Garcia, I realized how true those words were. I started doing research on the subject, as a former lawyer is prone to do. I discovered that there is an actual Imposter Syndrome out there. It affects women more often than men. It finds talented women doubting themselves and their choices. I am surprised at how often I encounter a decorator who is flat out amazing at what they do, but are afraid to enter cake shows. They don’t think they are good enough. They give their cakes away for free or little money because they don’t think they have the right to charge.

Dr. Valerie Young is an internationally known speaker, author and expert on women and impostor syndrome. Her book — The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women: Why Capable People Suffer From the Impostor Syndrome and How to Thrive In Spite of It (Crown Business, Random House) is a fascinating look into how so many accomplished and capable people suffer from self doubt. She lists Tina Fey and Maya Angelou as two who have admitted that they suffer from this disease.

Apparently, some of the people with this syndrome vacillate between egomania and imposter thoughts. In this situation, Tina Fey says she rides the egomania times and tries to get everything done that she can when she feels invincible. When the insecurities come, she struggles to remind herself that the feelings aren’t real.

I know more than a few decorators like this. I might be one of them! One day I can feel like I am a great teacher and that I should be doing books, DVDs and traveling overseas. The next day, I look at a class project and think I am not worthy of teaching anyone. I start to doubt my skills, my classes and the projects I design. When the imposter feeling comes over you, you MUST have someone you can talk to who will tell you to snap out of it. I do it for my friends and they do it for me. I cannot even count the number of times Susan Carberry has talked me off a ledge!!

One of the most important things you can do is to remember that the self doubt you feel is COMPLETELY NORMAL. In fact, I would worry more about someone who never faces insecurity. I think it is that angst that makes us push harder to do a better job. It is the little voice inside that says “you can do better”. If you believe you are perfect, you are likely a narcissist and have stopped learning and trying to do better. Thankfully, I do not know many of these!

The next time the customer calls and you doubt your abilities, put on your imposter hat and pretend you are on top of it. Sooner or later, you won’t be pretending anymore…you will have it under control! 20140530-112315-40995155.jpg


The Grass is Always Greener

Have you ever been driving along and you can sense that the car next to you
wants to be where you are…they covet your lane and want to be in your spot?
Maybe you are the person driving and you want to be in that other lane – the
road just looks better there or it will give you access to whatever it is you
are driving towards. It is tough to not feel envious sometimes.

I find myself getting these little pangs now and then. Why didn’t I get picked to teach at that event or judge at that show or whatever. I find myself wishing that I
was walking in other people’s shoes. Then I catch myself and remember that there is probably someone looking at my life wishing they were in my shoes. And you know what?  That is true for most of us. We look ahead to where we want to be and forget that where we ARE was once our goal. We forget that others are
working to achieve whatever we have achieved.

I caught my husband  getting irritated with a driver the other day…the person was in the lane that  he wanted to be in so he could make the next turn. I said, “How would that driver know that you wanted over?  You did not signal. “. After he forgave me for pointing this out, we started discussing that wishing for something to  happen simply wasn’t enough. He said that moving in the new direction required Patience, Persistence and Perception.

No one gets to their desired success level overnight. You have to be patient and have a plan. I think that a lot of people give up on dreams when they were SO CLOSE to realizing them. It can feel like forever while you are waiting for it to be your turn. But wait you must.

It’s funny. So many people think that the highly successful people
in this world never experienced failure or rejection. If you look into their
stories, however, you discover that they simply were persistent until they
achieved success. J.K. Rowling was turned down around a dozen times before
someone took a chance on Harry Potter. I have been turned down spots as an
instructor – or worse, not even been acknowledged several times. I could let
that shake my confidence, or I can tell myself that they simply do not know me.
I have to force myself to stay at it to be able to teach at my desired

Perception is the one we usually forget about. Just like Rob forgetting to signal the other night, we have to think about what signals we are sending into the universe. Does anyone know about our goals?  Do we have something to show the world what we want?  Just like when I wrote Cake Camp many years ago, you have to help people have the right perception of you. I put together a cd of photos of my work, a resume of classes I wanted to teach and a list of references from their other instructors. I signaled where I wanted to be.

As a baby lawyer, they used to tell us that if it walked like a duck and quacked like a duck and looked like a duck, then it is probably a duck. What they were telling us was to dress for the job we wanted, act like people act in that job, be like those people and everyone would assume we were that. If you want to be on tv, observe those who are and work on those traits. If you want to teach, comport yourself like the instructors you see. If you want the birthday cakes, be like those who get the orders. In other words, send out the perception you want others to have.

I want to add one more “P” to Rob’s list and that is Please. You must
ask. If you sit at home having a pity party because no one asked you to be on
that tv show or compete in that live challenge or whatever, you have only
yourself to blame. Many months ago I was seeing a friend pop up teaching all
over the US. I kept thinking I was doing a bad job as a teacher because I wasn’t
being invited to all these places. She and I were talking one day and I asked
her how these shops heard about her. She laughed and said, “I wrote them and
introduced myself and asked if they would have any interest in me teaching
there.”   You could have knocked me over with a feather. She asked. I kept
thinking what an idiot I had been to just assume that people had hunted her down and I sucked. She put the fourth P into action. Once I started to ask for the
opportunities I wanted, I started to get more of them. That does not mean that I
always get a yes…in fact I can list several recent nos. I know in my heart,
however, that I go more places because I ask.

My final thought for you today, is to try to stem your jealousy or insecurity.  You are seeing what others CHOOSE to show you.  They are probably only showing their successes, not their failures or doubts.  Lord knows I’ve had my share of those, but I have committed to happy posts on Facebook most of the time, so people don’t hear about those things.  I saw this quote and think it sums it all up beautifully.

So my advice for today is to put the 4 P’s into play in your life.  Signal where you want to go.  Don’t judge your life by someone else’s highlights.  Don’t let the green eyed monster of jealousy get to you and don’t let failure be forever.  Your best days are ahead.