“I very much feel like an impostor. I I feel like I don’t know who I am but people have been supporting me because they remember me to be this great person. I think I still have remnants of that but I also feel incredibly drained and I don’t have energy to to do as much good as I could in the past.”
One of my wonderful friends offered me these candid words when I interviewed her about her transition and asked her to tell me the biggest difference between who she was before going through a difficult transition through sickness and who is she is today.
She expresses so clearly what so many feel as they start to come out of the transition. An internal revolution has happened, yet the world around us has not changed one bit and we need to re-emerge and find our new place in it. We now need to be seen again and in order to do that, we need to be willing to show ourselves. How do you do that when you’re not sure what you’re showing because you don’t know who you’ve become yet?
1) Establish clear boundaries for yourself
You have just spent a considerable amount of time undoing years of learned behaviors, thought patterns and emotional reactions – this means you have made lots of space for the new to come in. How exciting! It’s really important to remember that what you let permeate into you will form the new you.
Now, let’s make sure that you are ruthless and only let in those influences that serve you. Complete an energy audit for yourself and decide what drains you and what fuels you. ONLY keep those things that fuel you (You’ll probably still have to clean your bathroom, let’s stay practical!)
Anyone who is not supportive and encouraging of you changing your life? OUT.
Time spent doing things that do not help you grow? NOT INTERESTED.
Set clear mental boundaries too – for example, you do not have to read the news every day if it depresses you!
You can choose what goes into the space you’ve made and you must choose who you let see that space.
2) Let people know that you’re exploring
So many people dream of taking the time to work out what they truly want to do. You are actually doing it and that’s magical. You have had the courage to go beyond your fears and you have had the courage to surmount the incredible feat of accepting your life is changing. Now? Claim it.
I talk to many life changers who tell me that they feel inadequate because they’re not sure how to introduce themselves. How about telling the truth?
When you meet new people, let them know that you are enjoying discovering new ideas and that this time around, you want to make sure that you’re taking the path that is fulfilling for you. There are two type of people: those who will cheer you on and those who will try to shame you. Remember to go back to #1! If people don’t think what you’re doing is exciting, they’re not your people. OUT.
If they’re family or friends, put some distance between you until you’re secure enough to deal with their comments. You’re not running away, you’re simply taking care of yourself.
Surround yourself with those who are your biggest fans. They’re out there and they’ll inspire you, stimulate you and push you to find exactly what you need!
3) Own it while you hone it
While many might advise you to “Fake it till you make it”, I much prefer the idea of “Own it while you hone it”. I heard Robin Hatcher say this one and it stuck with me.
When we are honing something, we refine it, we practice it. Here are a few ways you can do this:
- Invest in yourself: take classes. You’ll meet new people, and you’ll be stimulated and inspired.
- Work with a coach: you’ll learn to gain confidence and to adopt new ways of thinking.
- Join varied communities of people who are in the same space as you are: you’ll benefit from their support and together, you’ll grow.
- If you are learning a new skill, practice it as much as possible: e.g. take on clients for whom you waved your fee. This will allow you to gain experience.
- Educate yourself by listening to podcasts you don’t usually listen to, reading publications you don’t usually read or being curious around topics you are not naturally attracted to.
All of those will help you gain confidence, grow your new muscles and most importantly lead you to exploration.
This is an exciting moment in life, one when you have carte blanche to be who you want to be. You’ve shown courage, you’ve gone where very few dare to go and you’re both self-realizing and self-actualizing. That’s something to be proud of.