Sunbeams, Shadows & Imposter Syndrome
“Behold, my friends, the spring is come; the earth has gladly received the embraces of the sun, and we shall soon see the results of their love!” ― Sitting Bull
It's May, and I am sitting in my home with all of the windows open. The sun is shining, the birds are chirping, and there is green grass emerging from earth that has been covered with snow for the past six-months. Yes, spring has FINALLY sprung, but not without a fight. And while April might go down as one the snowiest on record, it didn't stop the Jump Start wheels from turning.
April kicked off with a trip to White Sulphur Springs to celebrate the release of this year’s Red Ants Pants Music Festival line-up.
I serve as the volunteer coordinator for the event, and each year my team and I coordinate roughly 200 volunteers, 450 shifts, and close to 1,800 hours of service to benefit the Red Ants Pants Foundation.
I’m proud to say that the volunteer role has become highly coveted, and we were 90% full within 30 days of opening registration. If you want to join us, move quickly:
Red Ants Pants Music Festival Volunteer Sign-Up
Curious about this year's festival lineup? Check out the artist playlist:
Following the festival release party, I returned to Colorado to deliver leadership training for the Quivira Coalition’s New Agrarian Program, which supports apprenticeship and mentorship for first-career professionals with a desire to learn more about regenerative agriculture. It's AWESOME.
Upon my return, I traveled to Helena to deliver a training on community-centered program development at the Montana Nonprofit Association’s annual Fundraising Summit. There were several familiar faces in the audience, and it was great to feel reconnected.
Mid-month was stacked with webinars, and I was grateful for the opportunity to deliver Art of Coaching and Career Pathing sessions for The One Star Foundation, Nevada Volunteers, and the Iowa & Minnesota Campus Compact. I was also invited to deliver a session on Motivation and Service for the Kansas Volunteer Commission, whom I absolutely adore.
Later in the month, I returned to The Ranch at Rock Creek to deliver leadership training for both the management and executive teams. Having had the opportunity to visit the ranch a couple of times now, I can tell you it truly is the experience of a lifetime. The hospitality, food, and accommodations are second to none, and the individuals working to deliver those services are as good as it gets. I’m excited to continue developing a relationship with this amazing place.
The month ended with the final retreat for the 2022-2023 Red Ants Pants Foundation Girls Leadership Program. Together, we set out to inspire hope, strength, courage, and pride in the those who gathered alongside of us, and there is no doubt in my mind that we accomplished that goal.
I will never, and I mean never, stop being in awe of the magic created by these women, and I would specifically like to acknowledge the team of mentors who give of themselves to these young women.
“If a child is to keep alive her inborn sense of wonder, she needs the companionship of at least one adult who can share it, rediscovering with her the joy, excitement and mystery of the world we live in.” –
What's Imposter Syndrome Anyway?
On the coaching front, there was a whole lot of talk about Imposter Syndrome, so I’d like to take a moment to remind all of you that Imposter Syndrome is not a personal flaw, it’s the psychological consequence of how our systems are designed and who they are designed for.
You can learn more about that here:
Imposter Syndrome is Sexist, Actually: Embracing Your Feelings as Protest
Now, to be clear, knowing this doesn’t change the very real discomfort we experience when we’re performing in spaces we were never meant to be, but it’s important to view our inner work in this area as an act of protest, and not simply a personal growth practice.
May Challenge: Fighting Imposter Syndrome
If you find yourself struggling with what is commonly considered to be imposter syndrome, I encourage you to practice the following exercises:
Identify the Data:
What specific external factors lead to you feeling inadequate? What environments, people, and contexts cause you to question your abilities? What are you seeing and hearing in those circumstances? Write it down.
Name your Emotional Response:
Don’t hide from the emotion/s you are feeling when you’re questioning your ability. Remember, you can’t solve a problem until you resolve how you feel about it, and that begins with emotional literacy. Name it, say it, feel it.
Reframe your Story:
Ask yourself what you are making the data mean, and why it’s causing you to feel what you’re feeling. Next, consider how the design of the system you are operating in may be influencing your experience. As yourself, “if the root of this is not my ability, what else might it be?”
Choose a New Behavioral Path:
Ask yourself, “how would I behave if I were certain I had the knowledge, skills, abilities, and expertise to do this? “ And do that.
Let me know how it goes and if there is anything I can do to support you.