Okay, I admit it. I’m writing this post as much for me as for anyone else who might be reading it. I’ve been in dreaming and planning mode and then in school studying nutrition and coaching and working towards this vision of becoming a health coach for a little over two years now. I just finished up my Master Health Coach Certification but strangely mixed in with feelings of accomplishment and excitement are not a small dose of nervousness and a bit of self doubt.
What is currently helping me through these feelings is a)my sister, who is like my own personal coach and keeps cheering me on, and b)knowing that these are totally normal feelings that lots of people have.
The New York Times recently published an article on something called The Imposter Syndrome. Did you know that’s a real thing? I stumbled upon this article at just the right time (I love it when that happens). Imposter Syndrome is the feeling that even if you’ve worked hard and have the experience and knowledge you just can’t quite believe you are where you’re at –that there must be some kind of luck involved or that people are going to find out that you are faking it. I think just knowing that these feelings have a name and are a real “thing” and that lots of people experience the exact same can be extremely helpful.
The other thing I’ve been thinking a lot about lately is that you can’t skip the beginning. As much as you might want to because it can sometimes be the awkward, bumpy, uncomfortable stage, you just can’t! Every single thing worth doing starts with a beginning. If your dream is to run that first 5K that might mean lacing up your shoes and walking once around the block. If you are like me and making a career change that might mean going back to school. If you want to eat healthier it might be as simple as being open to trying a new food you’ve never had before. Just make one first move. And then another and another. And keep at it! One step at a time (literally if you are in training for that 5K).
Then along the way when you are feeling a little disheartened or the Imposter Syndrome is setting in, find those people in your life who are YOUR personal coaches. The people who see your beauty and your potential and who know you can do it even when you are having a hard time believing it yourself. Lean on them, ask them what they think your strengths are. Take a deep breath and keep going.
One other very tangible simple trick that I recently stumbled upon and that I love is outlined by Social Psychologist, Amy Cuddy her Ted Talk, Your Body Language Shapes Who You Are. Did you know that you can actually trick yourself into feeling more confident by simply changing your body language? Studies have shown that by standing in the “victory pose” of success (imagine yourself at the end of that 5K with hands in fists, both hands in air) for two minutes you can physically reduce your levels of stress hormones and increase your confidence.
What are you dreaming of doing this week? This month? This year? Do you want to run your first 5K, or start a family, or write a novel? Or start learning how to eat healthier? Is there a part of you that is a little nervous to get started even though you know you can do it? Does it help to know that it’s totally normal to feel that way and lots of people do? Believe in yourself. Recognize that the beginning might be a little bumpy. Lean on those who love you. Stand in your victory pose. And take that first step!
Be happy, be healthy, be well.