During my tenure as a self-proclaimed “non-profit junkie” I had the privilege of meeting inspiring and accomplished folks from all walks of life who were doing the hard work of creating a better and more equitable community. I rubbed elbows with people who ran amazing charities and were seen as thought leaders in the sector, who were sought-after speakers at leadership trainings and conventions. And whenever I met and mingled with these super-humans, my initial inspiration at their accomplishment was swiftly replaced with self-doubt and a strong dose of imposter syndrome. I was #JealousAF.
My head began to swim with questioning: “Who was *I* to try and be a leader in this community? What did *I* bring to the table?” I told myself I didn’t have enough experience, all while continuing to climb the ladder from coordinator, to officer, and finally to director. And you know what I realized? It wasn’t the titles or leadership positions that made me feel like I had arrived. It was only after I left the traditional work place and created my own space (this website and my writing) that I began to feel authentic.
Over the past few years I’ve gone through a lot of introspection. I put my ish “out there” to close friends and spent time reading inspiring books, like Jen Sincero’s You Are a Badass: How to Stop Doubting Your Greatness and Start Living an Awesome Life and Brené Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are. I was doing “the work” y’all. And something that became clear to me in a visceral way was that every time I felt that tell-tale pang of jealousy and self-doubt, it was because I hadn’t been working on my “Dream Biggie” life plan (that’s mine, you can’t use it #sorrynotsorry, and also it’s in no way connected to the late American rapper, Notorious B.I.G. aka Biggie Smalls). But I digress…
My Dream Biggie life plan meant taking the risk of forging my own path, defining what successful meant for myself, and only saying “yes, please!” to opportunities that checked off the right boxes. So far, I think I’m doing a bang-up job. And one of the side-effects of my plan is that instead of being all jelly over someone else’s accomplishments, I am able to say “Wow! You are super awesome!” and I mean it. Aaaaaand, it inspires me to go back to my work as a successful (read: compensated) freelance writer and take on projects that former, self-doubting me would have been afraid of.
I love my life. I love that I’m surrounded by people who care so deeply that they can’t NOT go out into the world and make it a better place, even just a teen tiny bit. I love that every day I have endless opportunities to write, to meet like-minded humans and connect with them in ways I probably couldn’t just a few short months ago. And I hope I’m inspiring to even a few people who are kind enough to tolerate my often over-caffeinated brainstorms and enthusiastic ramblings. Because despite any bravado I might inadvertently exude, I’m just a rottweiler puppy chewing through a door at the end of the day, trying to tell you, “I’m here!”