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Feeling The Fear of Imposter Syndrome And Moving Forward

It took me three HOURS to record my first thirty minute episode.

Last year around this time, we were working hard to put out our brand new podcast, “The Mary Marantz Show”, as a lead up to my first book, Dirt, coming out this fall (September 15th to be precise!). There was a new brand to design, and a website to put together. There were guests to line up and a tagline (complete with matching sweatshirt) to decide upon. There were details- shiny, shiny, starting something new, distract you from the real work to be done- details!

And, I loved that part.

The starting is the fun part. The pretty details are the fun part. The throwing confetti highlight reel when you’re done is the fun part.

But the hard part is finding your voice.

(Stuck setting goals for 2020? Grab our FREE goal setting worksheet and checklist by clicking the image below!)

Click to get the free checklist!

It’s believing that there is room for your voice, and a need for your voice, when the conversation is already so crowded. It’s believing that you have something original to add… and that there will be someone out there who needs to hear it.

When I sat down at that microphone to record for the very first time, every ounce of imposter syndrome, self-doubt, comparison, perfectionism, and feeling like a fraud came rushing into the room with me.
Shame pulled up a seat next to me and started hissing in my ear. It leaned in close and told me with every mess-up and re-take that I was clearly not called to this. I didn’t have what it takes. I should just go ahead and give up now. It told me I was too introverted. Too much of a soft, quiet voice in a world that just loves people who shout. It told me I was too serious, too deep, too much and yet somehow, simultaneously… not enough. It told me I should quit before I’d even begun.

For three hours, Shame and I did battle. And when the fog cleared and the weapons were laid down, I was the last one standing. Bruised and word-weary for the fighting, but more determined than ever that this muddy, messy story of mine needs to be shared.

And here’s the thing… so does yours.

Chances are if you’re STUCK right now with putting your voice out into the world- whether that’s with starting a new podcast or writing a book or showing up more in your social media- you’re probably there for the same reasons most of us ever get stuck.

You feel unprepared and unqualified. You have a FEAR that your peers will judge you. You think “who would ever want to learn from me when there are already people who have been doing it longer and doing it better.” You feel like you’ll never reach HER level anyway. You give in to Perfectionism and Permission becoming your most advanced form of Procrastination. You’re waiting for that perfect timing or for when “things calm down” (hint: that never happens). Or maybe deep down there is a part of you that just feels like it’s already too late to do something about this dream.

Been there. Done that. Have the podcast episode (Ep. 01: Why I Almost Never Wrote the Book) to tell you about it.


So if that is why we’re stuck, what do we do about it? How do we Feel that Fear… and move Forward anyway?


(Stuck setting goals for 2020? Grab our FREE goal setting worksheet and checklist by clicking the image below!)


1. The Breakthrough You’re Waiting For is in the Work You’re Avoiding.
I saw this quote from James Wedmore and it shook me to my core. Every person I see having breakthrough after breakthrough, out there doing the very things *I* want to be doing… they are getting there by doing the work I’ve been avoiding. They are sitting in the chair and sitting through the edginess, putting their backsides in the seat long enough for the fear to dissipate and the words to come. They aren’t doing it just when they feel the inspiration hit or when it’s easy or when it’s fun. They are showing up every day, and putting in the work. And the work changes you. The discipline changes you. Staring down Shame for three hours straight and still standing, it changes you.


2. Take A Step Back

Speaking of Shame, I love what Brene Brown (the woman we ALL want to be best friends with) has to say about this. She contrasts Shame with this idea of Whole-Heartedness. And I think a good way to understand that is two steps. Step One is that thing that happens to all of us at one point or another. We don’t get picked (or booked!). It doesn’t come easy. The work feels messy and hard. When that happens, whole-hearted people stay at Step One. That mistake or misstep or disappointment is just that: an external set of facts about something that happened. The End. Shame, however, wants us to take that next step. It wants us to say that because we weren’t picked, it must mean we’re not worthy of being chosen. Because it didn’t work the way we’d hoped, we have already failed before we’ve even really started. If we make one mistake, we must not have what it takes. Shame wants to take that external set of facts about something that happened and turn it into an internal commentary about who you are as a person down to your very character and core. When that happens- take a step back. Take a beat. Take a breath. And remind yourself, that we are ALL beginners at things when we first try. It’s never perfect right out of the gate. And before you let that convince you to quit before you’ve even started… take that step back.

3. Be For Other People

Finally, the next time you find yourself STUCK because of what “they” might have to say about it… I want you to instead imagine the faces of the people it might SERVE. Be for other people. Because the truth is, we could go a lifetime closed off, captioning our stories with a pre-approved script of what the world says is acceptable. And yet, we forget the people that we might help when we step into the real story we’ve been given. We’re so busy worrying about the critics and the crowd that we forget the crushed in spirit. The one or the many who might be waiting for the very story you’ve been trusted to tell.
You’re here and you have scars. You’re here and you have dirt in your story. You’re here and you’re afraid both of those disqualify you before you even start.

But the world needs your voice. Your story already matters.

And one day, when we get to where it is we’re going, it won’t be despite these scars we bear. It will always be because of them.

And when the starting feels just a little too slow, just remember…

Slow growth equals Strong roots.

Feel like the Imposter Syndrome has you playing small?  Listen to this podcast episode with Morgan Harper Nichols: How to Walk Away From Playing it Safe and Pursue Your Calling


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comments +

  1. Mary Kennedy says:

    I felt the same way Mary did. I started writing a blog in the middle of quarantine in a time of boredom, and in Hope’s of reaching one of my goals. But I have fear, feelings of being underqualified and battle perfectionism as well. I have also loved writing, but I have not furthered my education in even how to write properly. So who am I to be even writing??

  2. Linda says:

    I stumbled across your post on Pinterest. I am older and seems always had problems setting or following through with goals. I am awkward with the whole technology business and usually use that as an excuse to go ahead with anything. I think I would enjoy podcast but know how to make it work.

  3. Dr.Melissa Riddle says:

    Thank you for that information that’s what’s going on with my self I kinda new it but your words put it in to play your a true inspiring personally tell it like it is your real and that says a lot too me and made me want to get started with my life ambition God bless and keep on keeping it real

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