Introspection & Lessons On Being “Good Enough”

impostorsyndrome

I have this really bad habit of doubting myself.

Not just intermittently, like when something goes wrong or an opportunity falls through. It’s only natural to question your talent when you’re told “no.” A “no” is always difficult to deal with, no matter how familiar you are with the word, especially in an industry where it so easily translates to actually not being good enough.

If it were just during these moments of rejection that I found myself questioning my legitimacy as a writer, musician and singer, I could easily chalk it up to simply being human. But it’s not as simple as that for me. I find myself doubting my abilities ALL THE TIME.

In short, I suffer from Impostor Syndrome. Have you ever felt, regardless of what other people tell you, that you couldn’t possibly be good enough? Have you earned accolades you don’t believe you deserve or praise you’ve deemed yourself unworthy of?

Congratulations, you suffer from it, too.

I just finished a new song yesterday that I’m really excited about; it departs quite a bit from my comfort zone, which, as you probably know from my previous post, is something I’ve been challenging myself to do lately.  As an artist, I think it’s important to be malleable, to be flexible.  Especially since I’d love to one day be able to not only write songs for myself, but to write with and for other artists as well.

This morning, I woke up with it at the forefront of my Alejandro Villanueva Authentic Jersey mind, sure that I had probably dreamt about it last night. I had a cup of coffee and sat down at the keyboard to revisit it. I played it through a few times, playing with the melodies and phrasing, and though I was still incredibly happy with it, I began to wonder if maybe it wasn’t as good as I thought it was. Like I said, it’s Alejandro Villanueva Womens Jersey a bad habit of mine.

I’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember.  It didn’t matter that I’d booked showcases at SXSW & NXNE or that I’d signed with a great producer out of Memphis. No matter what I was accomplishing, I had a knack for undermining the progress of achieving my dreams with this crippling self-doubt that has been following me around all my life.

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But Alejandro Villanueva Youth Jersey as I was sitting at the keyboard this morning, I found myself fighting against it for the first time. It’s a slippery slope, that self-doubt. And up until today, I had never made an effort to resist it; I’d simply give into it until it disappeared, at which point I’d start again, having lost momentum and confidence and often valuable relationships.

This morning, however, I was fighting it for the first time, telling myself that it didn’t matter if it was objectively good enough. I had to remind myself that, first and foremost, I make music because it’s what I love to do.  Not to win Grammys or get rich (though, let’s be honest, both of those would be wonderful). And it worked.

I’ve finally found a way to silence that nasty little voice in my head that tells me I’m not good enough. I just have to remember that it’s not necessarily about being good enough. It’s not as though I’m going to stop writing music the minute people no longer want to listen. It’s not about other people. It’s about doing what makes me happy.

Finding the Magic

wherethemagichappens

A few years ago my husband and I bought a truck to pull our 5th wheel camper.  It was a bit of an older truck and needed some work done: specifically, the O2 and speed sensors needed to be replaced. One evening, my husband came home and, after learning I had replaced the parts that afternoon, the following exchange ensued:

Mr. LRF: “You’re just good at everything aren’t you?”

Me: “Hardly. I just don’t do things I’m no good at.”

I was thinking about this exchange today. It used to be a point of pride for me; if I did something, I did it reasonably well. All of my hobbies and interests were things I had a relatively adequate understanding of or ability for. But in thinking about what that really meant, I started to feel a little disappointed.

How many opportunities or experiences was I allowing myself to miss out on because I “don’t do things I’m not good at?” I’ve always thought of myself as someone who was rather open-minded; among other things, I’ve always identified as a free spirit (totally cliche, I know). But I realized that this may have been an area of my life I was overlooking. Lifestyles, cultures, ideologies: these are all areas where my inclination for adventure manifests itself easily. But in matters of personal pursuit, it’s been a completely different story.

I’m completely unwilling to be bad at things.

So, in an effort to address this unexamined part of my life, I’ve decided to make a commitment to myself. This year will be the year of making myself uncomfortable. I’m going to consciously seek out opportunities that lie well outside my comfort zone; I’m going to relish in being bad at things in the hopes of exploring new facets of life that have, until now, evaded me.

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What does that look like in my life, though?  I’ve narrowed it down to these three things:

  1. Writing one song a month in a different genre. I love folk/soul and adult alternative. It’s what comes naturally, what’s easiest for me.  However, I’d love to get to the point where I’m not just writing songs for myself but for other artists as well. Being able to write well in other Alejandro Villanueva Kids Jersey genres is a sure-fire way T.J. Watt Jersey to increase the number of opportunities available to me and may even reveal new areas of interest or sounds to incorporate in my personal projects.
  2. Finding a new hobby, specifically something I’m terrible at. I love design and visual art; I marvel at those people who can create pencil sketches that jump off the page or portrait art that’s so life-like you’d swear you were looking at a picture.  I have no delusions that I’ll ever be great at it but sometimes it’s not about becoming an expert. Some things are worth our time simply because they’re enjoyable.
  3. Focus on relationship building. I am incredibly introverted by nature. Though I’m no longer socially awkward and can engage with relative ease in social situations, they prove to be quite draining on my energy and I generally need time to myself immediately thereafter to recharge. When I play shows, I have to mentally prepare for my time opening and engaging with the audience and withdraw into myself afterward. As a result, my relationships outside of my family (they get it) tend to suffer. Do to the fact that being a performing musician forces me to engage on a regular basis, I don’t make an effort to do so outside of that realm. It’s uncomfortable. But I know that my neglect of my other professional and personal relationships surely has had a negative impact on my life and I’m determined to turn that around this year.

In the last few years, I’ve become much T.J. Watt Authentic Jersey more comfortable with myself than I’ve ever been; it’s one of my most treasured achievements. But just because I’m finally enjoying who I am, that doesn’t mean I shouldn’t spend some time exploring the outer reaches of that self, in an effort to find some heretofore untapped well of enjoyment.  I’m interested in what these unexamined aspects of my life may turn up and excited about exercising some metaphorical muscles I’ve let languish up until now.

Security Is Overrated

shipissafeinharbor

I am officially unemployed.

Up until this afternoon, I’d been working for a non-profit in San Antonio, managing their database.  When I decided to get another 9-5, I promised myself that it would be a means to an end.  I said that I would use my income to invest in myself and my music.

Fast forward two years and, somehow, it had T.J. Watt Womens Jersey become my security blanket. Rather than using it as a tool to accomplish my dreams, I had made the decision at some point to play it safe. I haven’t been to an open mic in almost a year. I haven’t booked a show in almost three. But the really scary part is that I didn’t even realize that this had happened until today.

Eight days ago, I suffered a third degree right ankle sprain and since then, I’ve been unable to drive to the office. Today they decided they could no longer hold my position and they let me go. Luckily, my husband and I aren’t dependent on my income, otherwise I may have ended up seeking their rental and utility assistance services immediately thereafter.

If I’m being honest, I’m a bit heartbroken over it. Even though I know the plan was never to make a career out of it–and I keep reminding myself that it was always supposed to be temporary–somehow I had let myself become emotionally invested in my work there. It was a great cause after all, that did a lot of good in the community, however I may feel about the organizational culture or management.

It’s also difficult because, as much as I thought I was an invaluable part of the team, I learned rather quickly that, no matter what you bring to the table, you’re always replaceable. When my supervisor broke the news to me, it was really hard to process. I had exemplary attendance and stellar annual reviews. I had just completed a database conversion project that should have taken a team and 6 months; I did it on my own and in less than two.  The fact that they could let me go so easily seemed almost cruel.

But it couldn’t have come at a better time. Like I said earlier, I had let the job sneak up on me and implant itself as a necessity in my life. And the truth of that revealed itself when, after being let go, I felt like I had T.J. Watt Youth Jersey lost something. Now that I have had the chance to sit with it for awhile, though, I realize that it was my ego that was feeling the loss; it had knocked me down a peg or two.

I also realized that this was a blessing in disguise (damn cliches–they’re so overused but apt all the same).

I think that, over the last two years, this job had found a way to blind me, or at the very least shift the majority of my focus away from what was really important to me. When people asked me what I did, my answer was no longer “singer-songwriter” or “musician” but T.J. Watt Kids Jersey “database administrator.” And while it satisfied my left-brained nature, it wasn’t satisfying to the soul. It didn’t pull me from my sleep the way a song does when it comes to me in my dreams.

My job had become an excuse to neglect my dreams. So, thank you, (insert organization here), for doing what I didn’t have the courage to do. Thank you for ripping that security blanket from my man-sized hands and setting me free.

Maybe I’ll write a song about it.