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Can't Fake This

“Well, I’m here. I’m playing a new gig. I’m learning a new skill. I’m going in a new direction. I’m sharing a new song. I’m reaching out to new people. But wait, what am I actually doing? I don’t think I’m prepared for this. Am I the right person for this? Am I good enough for this?" Oh, the stories we tell ourselves…

Impostor syndrome. It’s all too real, and too many of us have experienced it at one point or another. How many times have we felt unsure of ourselves and gotten in our own way? I will own up and say that in many situations, I have put things on the back burner or psyched myself out way too many times. When was I going to learn that second guessing yourself should not be second nature? Years of training, studying and experience would go down the toilet when I gave attention to that one, single doubt. This would come into play a lot in the performance world, especially as a woodwind doubler. As a doubler, you never want to be labeled as a “jack of all trades, master of none.” When gigs arise where you’re required to play in styles or on instruments that you may not frequently play on, you have to make sure you blend in and stand out appropriately. Putting in the practice hours to make that happen is one thing. But another crucial part of being successful was believing that no matter what, I could actually do the dang thing.

Over the years, I’ve also had my fair share of juggling odd jobs. My longest running one has been as a substitute teacher. Man, the situations I have been thrown in and the things I have learned could fill a book. The phrase “fake it til you make it” came to mind quite a bit when I came to work. Some days, sub plans would be all over the place (or the kids were) and if I showed the teeniest lack of self confidence, I would get eaten alive. Kids can smell fear! But the more I stepped out, the more I believed in myself and my abilities to adapt. This was not even my field of expertise or what I was passionate about. So why weren’t the things I was learning in the school environment, translating more into my music career?

I feel like the more precious something is to us, the more internal pressure we put on ourselves to do things “perfectly”. But there is nothing worse than feeling like you may not belong in a place that you have been working towards all your life. I have been blessed with opportunities in so many areas. I have also been in positions to where I have had to step out and create opportunities for myself. When doors open, stepping through them is scary and exciting because I care so much about what’s on the other side. So, if the opportunity finally arrived, why should I question it or my worthiness?

Most recently, branching out into the new territories of songwriting, singing and music production have been intimidating because there are a lot of unknowns. When I first started that new chapter, impostor syndrome was making too many appearances. But, I have been reminding myself that newness is its own unique challenge and that of course, anything worth doing will be challenging. Regardless, do I have things I want to create and share with the world? Yes! So why am I hesitating and worrying about if I have any place to be doing any of this???

At the end of the day, I’m a work in progress. Everyone is. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t give myself permission to reach for certain goals and shy away when I meet them. Believing in oneself is the most cheesy, cliche and TRUE thing that people say. From a spiritual standpoint, I also remind myself of how far I've come by the grace of God and how through faith and trust in Him, I can step out into whatever comes next. If we are passionate about something and are brave enough to take those steps towards that new open door, then continue on, we must. For my part, I’m gonna start telling myself better stories (truth) because I’m realizing more and more that, it’s not who am I to do this, but who am I NOT to?

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