I'm not a fraud (but I do feel like one)
December 21, 2017
It really is hard for me to publish this stuff.
I read and listen to a lot of motivational material, and I have a great deal of cognitive dissonance about writing it. It makes me think of Dennis Miller’s bit about getting sex education from the priest in Catholic school: “Sorry, padre. I gotta see proof of purchase. I’m not learning about sex from a man with no zipper on his pants.”
I feel like a fraud most of the time. I’m not some world class drummer or celebrated writer or rich entrepreneur giving away the secrets to a successful life. I’m none of those things. I’m interested, though, and I have a lot of questions on my mind these days. And when it comes to talking about self-doubt and fear, I can definitely speak with some authority.
My whole thing is about putting yourself out there, so I guess in this case the medium is indeed the message. I knew I could write well enough about the Sarah Smith tour, but when it ended, I had this platform and no idea what to do with it. I’ve always been drawn to personal development, but what authority do I have? Not much, except my own experience, which says that good things happen when you take action. So, instead of sitting around wondering what might happen if I started writing this sort of thing, I just started writing it. What better way to see where it might go? Maybe it will resonate. Maybe it will open doors I never imagined would open, like music has over the past few years. Maybe nothing will happen, but at least I’ll know
Sometimes it’s easier to play the “What if?” game than to strap on your helmet get on the ice for real. If you don’t try, you can’t fail, right? But in the end that’s the ultimate failure. Believe me, when I was trying to write fiction I went to war with myself over this. Writing was so important to me that I eventually I couldn’t even write anymore. The dream became more important than pursuing the dream, if that makes sense. I would rather have had the illusion than risk the illusion for a possible reality.
Talk about wasted time.
I might have crushed my masterpiece in those fearful, ego-driven days. I might have given piles of energy to a phantom that could have been directed to something more productive. I could do the same thing with motivational writing. I could argue with myself for the next six months about whether I have anything worth saying, or I could just do it and let what happens happen. The next six months will go by either way. Why not have had the experience by then?
So yeah, I feel like a fraud, even though I’m writing from an honest place. Maybe you feel like a fraud too and that’s why you’re not doing that thing you really want to do. Maybe you think you’re not good enough and that’s why you’re not in the relationship you want. Maybe you think you’re not smart enough and that’s why you’re not in the post-secondary program you want to be in. Maybe that’s why you sit and nurture your illusions instead of getting in the game.
What good does that really do you? What good does it do me? That six months I talked about earlier isn’t just six months. It might be six months out of ten years or twenty years or your whole life. It’s going to go by. If you try something and it doesn’t work, break out the party hats and strike it off your list. Now you know, and you can adjust or move on to something else instead of being paralyzed with wonder for the next decade.
Try it, whatever "it" is.
Do the thing.
If you fail, you fail, but we already know failure can be success. And guess what? You might not fail. You might unlock your greatest dream and potential and life.
Isn’t that worth feeling like a fraud for a little while?