For a long time (read: most of my life), I could not bring myself to identify as a singer or a writer. The reasons for this changed depending on what resonated most at the time: I wasn't making money on it, I wasn't really good enough, it came too easily, it felt like fun and not work, I had no output to show anybody who said, "Oh yeah? What do you sing/write?"
Despite the fact that I've been singing for decades and that I've published my writing online and in print, I felt silly calling myself a singer or writer.
Last year, I started nurturing my creative side with the help of creativity coach Jess Grippo and vocal coach Ruth Levy. Working with these women was life-changing, and for the first time, I used the labels "writer" and "singer" with confidence and passion. I performed at a showcase, started working on a book, and even sang at Bryant Park during a photo shoot (people were confused).
But... Umm... Well, sometimes I feel like a fraud.
Sometimes I think my voice is crappy and that thing I wrote should never be read by anybody, including myself. Or I get caught up in working on things that generate income, and ignore the things that make me feel happy and connected to others. Or I post and delete and post and delete the video of my latest performance from my website because - another confession - I kinda hate it.
And since I've already made two confessions, I'll add that sometimes I think I'm a fraud when it comes to things completely unrelated to my creative expression.
Do you ever feel like a fraud? Does it seem like everybody has talents and skills but you?
I thought it might be helpful to make a list of some things that make me feel like a fraud:
When I don't know how to help a friend.
When I have to acknowledge that I am terrible at comforting anybody dealing with death or illness.
When clients tell me I helped them make a major breakthrough.
When somebody says "you're great at that!" and I try to hide my incredulity because I'm just winging it.
When I'm called an "expert" (at anything, really).
These are all things that have come up recently, so it's not an exhaustive list, but you get the idea.
Since the year began, I've been revamping my business and brand, designing a logo, and developing a new program for women who want to stop silencing themselves and start sharing their stories. Of course, this has brought up a lot of fear, anxiety, and judgment, and one of the biggest things I had to get past was the feeling that I'm a fraud.
Because I'm not a fraud. And chances are that if you're connecting to your mission or purpose, being authentic, trusting your gut, and following your intuition, you aren't a fraud either.
Final confession: I will probably need to be reminded of this again. Like, probably as soon as next week, if not before then.
If you think you'll need a reminder too, just bookmark this post and keep in mind that it probably means you're moving forward, and your dreams are expanding. That's a beautiful thing.
(but maybe I'm not alone?)