Hoo boy. I’ve been sick for a few days. I powered through, but the exhaustion finally caught up with me today.
My brain’s fried. With a dash of soy sauce.
I’m pushing through to get this done.
Well… more like crawling through.
I hope this email still makes some sense at the end.
(Unlike that earlier ‘fry’ metaphor pun thing.)
Day 18 of the ’30 Ways To Play With Your Imposter Syndrome’ Challenge.
“There’s no doubt it’s an impressive, if short, stretch of asphalt.
About a kilometre in length, it is several hundred metres wide and features six lanes, two footpaths, three sets of traffic lights and five ‘nature parks’.
On Friday, to coincide with the first day of the 2018 Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) summit, Chinese President Xi Jinping formally opened Independence Boulevard in Papua New Guinea’s capital of Port Moresby.
Paid for with Chinese cash, the $16 million avenue grandly stretches away from the country’s parliament building but then splutters to a halt a little way down the hill at a local road.
For its critics, that’s a big problem. They have dubbed the bulbous boulevard a ‘road to nowhere’ and a sign of China’s growing sway on Australia’s doorstep.”
Having strong supporters can be more terrifying than having none.
When people pave a path for us, expecting us to do great things…
… that can terrify us.
While you’re on that path…
Other people might roll out the red carpet…
They might garnish the gravel with gold…
They might make a $16 million road…
And as you travel down that path… all that celebratory cement might suddenly sputter out.
And you’ve found you’ve ended up nowhere.
All that fanfare… all that celebration of you… for nothing.
Sometimes imposter syndrome is the fear of ending up nowhere…
… despite others’ grand treatment, expectations, and belief in you.
People might sing praises about the great places you’re heading…
… but if you end up nowhere…
… you’ll feel like a fraud.
But here’s the thing…
There’s no such thing as a road to nowhere.
That Papua New Guinean road doesn’t lead to a void where nothing exists.
It “splutters to a halt a little way down the hill at a local road.”
That detail really appealed to me.
I wasn’t sure why at first.
But I figured it out.
It’s because the road doesn’t have to lead to somewhere extravagant to mean something. To have value.
Even if you follow the diamond-encrusted road that others have built for you…
… you might not reach the grand destination they want from you.
(Or the destination YOU want either.)
But DON’T despair at ending up ‘nowhere’.
See how you can make it a ‘somewhere’.
I’ve got a situation like that coming up.
I’m set to play Liszt’s Mazeppa at a concert in a couple of weeks.
The music is spectacular.
A few years back, it was literally the hardest solo piano piece I ever had to learn.
And I haven’t got long to relearn it in time.
It’s still difficult.
(I expect to wake up to several hours practise on it tomorrow.)
At these particular concerts I’ve played showstopper pieces to great applause and entertainment for the audience.
So now, the audience EXPECTS me to give showstopper performances.
They look forward to seeing what I come up with next.
Their expectations have paved a road for me to follow…
… to keep giving showstopper performances…
… and I’m scared I’ll disappoint by making a complete mess of the music.
I don’t want to disappoint my supporters.
But even if the road I follow ends up ‘nowhere’ and I disappoint them…
I want to make the most of where I DO end up.
What I can learn from the disaster.
How I can improve for next time.
How to salvage what I can from it.
Why it happened.
When I do that, ‘nowhere’ always becomes ‘somewhere’.
Ending up nowhere becomes MUCH less scary when I get better at making it somewhere.
It’s not a skill that came naturally to me. But I’m getting better and better at it.
Whatever people’s expectations…
… if I make sure wherever I end up counts as somewhere…
… if I make sure that’s the TRUE path I follow…
… then I know I’ll NEVER end up nowhere.
That thought keeps me going. (Especially as I write this now, past midnight and exhausted.)
And I hope it helps you too.
Screenshot proof below:
(You’ll see it only if you have images enabled.)
Taken 2018-11-18 at 11.09.41 am