I'm a national bestselling author (still feels weird to say!), keynote speaker, podcaster, and educator. In college, I started a small Etsy shop and blog from the storage closet in my sorority house. Fancy, I know. A few years later, that small Etsy shop grew into an internationally recognized sweatshirt brand & that dinky little blog led to bestselling books and publishing career. Now, I'm obsessed about helping other women pave their own path and work from home in their pajamas, too.
Every Wednesday, I send my insiders exclusive resources, ideas, and advice directly from me.
Have you ever dreamed of doing something only to stop yourself because you can think of ten other women who are doing the same thing – seemingly better than you could do it?
Yeah, me too. I felt this way about before I opened my Etsy shop, before launching a clothing line, when writing my first book, and more.
This, my dear, is called Imposter Syndrome. It’s essentially doubting you have what it takes to do what you dream of doing.
Sadly, it’s holding so many incredibly talented women back from making the unique impact they were designed to have on the world.
And I’m so over it.
Now, I’d love to just tell you the generic stuff you hear everybody say like, “You’re unique and no one can do it like you can!”
While that is 100% true, I know it can be SO hard to believe when you’re straight up doubting yourself and swimming in impostor syndrome.
So I’d rather give you some actionable things you can DO when you begin to have these feelings.
They all begin with P so you remember them (and because I’m cheesy) but mostly so you remember them.
Let’s say, for example, you really want to start a podcast about marriage. But you listen to three great podcasts on marriage already and have no idea how you could possibly measure up. You’ve never recorded your own voice before. You’re only five years into marriage yourself. You don’t think you’re very funny. And tech is so not your strength.
I get it. It’s all normal to think. But I’m going to let you in on an age old secret that you MUST know before jumping into anything.
You ready for it?
The only way you become great at anything is by practicing it.
Mind blowing, I know.
Okay, I’ll stop with the sass but I’m emphasizing this because I think it’s something SO many of us forget!
You are allowed to practice as much as you need to before you ever hit publish. Practice setting up the equipment. Practice recording several episodes without ever publishing them. Allow yourself to create episodes solely as practice episodes. Perhaps allow your closest circle of friends to listen to them and offer their feedback. Then, practice some more.
And guess what? You don’t have to promote or air these practice episodes! You are allowed to practice and get comfortable before the big reveal.
Think about it. How many basketballs did Michael Jordan shoot in practice before ever becoming Michael Jordan as we knew him? Alone in a gym with no fans or crowds watching him?
Probably a lot. A lot more than we can even imagine.
He didn’t just wake up one day and become the best basketball player of all time during his first game.
He practiced day in and day out, by himself before ever making a big debut.
Why wouldn’t you do the same with the dream you want to pursue?
They say practice makes perfect. I don’t know about that. But I do know that practice makes progress.
Speaking of progress, I highly recommend that as you’re practicing, whether it’s photography or podcasting or something else, that you track your progress and improvement.
To take the basketball analogy a little further, let’s say Michael Jordan shot 100 basketballs a day for an entire summer. Perhaps at the beginning of the summer, he was actually making about 30 out of the 100 shots he took.
If he tracked his progress, he might find that halfway through the summer, he improved his shooting percentage to 37% (meaning he was averaging about 37 makes out of 100 shots).
By the end of the summer, he might be making half of the shots he took, meaning his shooting percentage went all the way up to 50% – a 20% improvement from all that practice.
Obviously this is a completely made up scenario and the numbers I pulled out of thin air.
Regardless, I want you to think about your practice this way. If you’re rolling with the marriage podcast example, I want you to set an amount of time that you’re going to practice.
Let’s say this is 30 days.
In that 30 day window, I want you to plan and record a practice episode.
Edit it and get it ready to listen. Send them to three couples you know and ask them to listen. Then, ask them to give it a grade out of 100 with a brief reason for that score (with the promise that you won’t be offended and that all you will say is, “Thank You” – you want them to be honest so you can improve!).
If one couple gave it a score of 75%, another couple gave it a grade of a 79%, and another couple gave it score of 82%, that means you’re averaging C.
Not bad for starting out, honestly!
Then, set a goal for what you want to be scored before going live. Be realistic. You don’t have to hit 100% A+ as a beginner, but getting that grade up to a 90% or 94% would be pretty solid, wouldn’t you say?
Take their feedback, record another practice, and make adjustments based on their reasoning for the score they gave.
Ask them to score that second practice and see if you get closer to your goal.
Track your progress and once you get the rating you have in mind, you’ll probably feel much more ready to take the next step.
This can work with anything. If you’re wanting to get into graphic design or start a graphic design business on the side, follow a similar process.
Make a few practice designs for friends who fit your ideal customer avatar.
Have them grade it. Write that grade down.
Do it again with their grade and feedback in mind.
Have them grade it / give feedback.
Track that progress.
And continue until you’ve SEEN yourself improve. At that point, it’ll be undeniable that you’ve grown and that you’re ready to start putting what you’ve got out into the world.
Did you know hit TV shows like Fixer Upper began with a Pilot Episode? In other words, before fully committing to the show, the network (HGTV in this case) ran a TEST episode to see if it would work and if people would watch it?
When the pilot episode performed well, they continued with the show and now we all love Chip and Jo.
But just like Michael Jordan, they didn’t start off like the Chip and Jo we know. They began as regular people who happened to be pretty good at building houses — not necessarily at being television stars.
If you read their book, The Magnolia Story, you’ll hear about the years of practice in private (aka not on our television screens) they had when it came to perfecting their craft, and about the pilot episode filming.
Anyway, I share this because after you’ve practiced and tracked your own improvement, I want you to put a beta, or “pilot,” version of what you want to do out into the world.
In other words, just take the first step and TRY IT.
Offer it, share it on social media, book your first client, press publish, or whatever that looks like.
Ask for feedback from anyone who checks out what you have or that you work with.
I’m not saying you’ll have a perfect score across the board but when you take action and just go for it, you’ll usually end up proving yourself wrong.
You may have a long way to grow to get to where you ultimately want to be but when you practice, track your progress, and take action, you’ll prove to yourself that you DO have what it takes.
You can grow without starting, and if you’re simply not starting because you don’t think you have what it takes to succeed, the best way to prove yourself wrong by STARTING ANYWAY.
Take a little action, give yourself some grace, and remember: you get to DECIDE if you have what it takes.
What decision will you make?
Tell me in the comments below!