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I was recently in the presence of a small group of fellow female coaches and I felt the familiar twang of feeling like I’m “not enough.”
Have you ever felt that way?
The edge of that feeling of inadequacy and insecurity has dulled over time, but it is a longtime friend of mine and I’m no stranger to that common experience among women of feeling like an imposter.
In this particular experience, I was struck by the feeling because while I was among colleagues and collaborators it occurred more as if I were amongst competitors.
While this is surely not the first time nor will it be the last time, I feel this way in a group, what was different is that I wasn’t “in charge” of this particular gathering.
It wasn’t my event.
I wasn’t facilitating.
I wasn’t relating to myself as the leader of it.
Which is fuel for my story that I should just go along with the flow rather than cause an uncomfortable moment of dissent in the group.
This is a valuable lesson still for me and for many folks I speak with.
We always get to be a leader in any environment we choose to put ourselves in, as long as we choose to relate to ourselves in that way.
In any regard, I took off my leader hat in this particular gathering and watched in growing discomfort and disinterest as one after the next of my colleagues shared their accolades like they were reading off of their resumes.
When it came to my turn, I’m sure I partook in similar fashion, but for the most part, noticed I was already checked out because I had made a previous decision in my head that these weren’t my people.
That being surrounded by stuffy, resume-driven professionals was simply not my cup of tea.
Now, please don’t get me wrong. The point of this post is much more about me and what I could have done differently than how the others showed up.
It’s always easier to shine the light over there, isn’t it?
But at the end of the day, we’re the one with the power switch.
Had this been my gathering, I surely would have taken seriously my role of facilitator by setting the context for the gathering and setting the foundation by modeling the level of intimacy and vulnerability that is my superpower to bring to most gatherings I’m a part of.
What I took away from this experience, however, is that it only takes one individual to lean into their edge and share vulnerably, to get out of the stuffiness of their own head and share from a connected and grounded, heart-centered place.
I wish I had leaned more into being vulnerable and switched up that day, but I didn’t.
**It only takes one person to share vulnerably in a gathering to set the foundation for everyone to open up.
** It only takes one person who is willing to allow themselves to be seen in order to see.
**In romantic relationships, it only takes one person to feel vulnerable and express their hurt versus defaulting to that comfortable, he said, she said, place.
**It only takes one person to break the norms of competition over collaboration and remember that there is more than enough for all of us.
**It only takes one family member at the Thanksgiving table to shift the table conversation from one of family gossip to one of gratitude.
**And it only takes one woman entrepreneur to own outloud her experience of feeling like the imposter to create the space for a more connected and authentic conversation for everyone
I learned this lesson the hard way this time.
For all the occasions in which I’ve been able to lean into being authentic and vulnerable, I will never be able to take back not having been able to that day.
But I have learned this lesson, that you can be sure of.
And next time, well next time, you can guarantee, I will be leaning in. I have all of you to hold me to it.
To being the “one”