For the past two years, I have waged war with one of the most common psychological – what to call it? – “conditions” I guess will work: Imposter Syndrome.
You’ve likely had it.
According to Forbes, 75 percent of Americans feel a sense of imposter syndrome when they are promoted or hired. Basically, it’s a sense that you don’t deserve that promotion, or that somebody else should have been hired, that you don’t belong.
That you’re an imposter.
It’s not serious. Just is what it is. If you have an ounce of humility, I’d expect you’ve likely experienced this.
When my first book, The Last 18, was published, I had a severe case of imposter syndrome, more so than when I was hired for any of my previous jobs.
My good friend Alex Cook saw me open my edited manuscript in our house in Baltimore and said “Holy shit! One of my best friends is an author!”
Naw, I was just some guy who wrote a book. I wasn’t an author.
J.K. Rowling is an author.
Mitch Albom is an author.
Paulo Coelho is an author.
I wasn’t an author.
Sure, I wrote a book. I guess that technically made me an author. I don’t know. I still didn’t embrace it.
I can’t pinpoint a single moment when I finally kicked imposter syndrome to the side. I just had a series of minor epiphanies along the way to publishing my second book, More Than a Game, while simultaneously working on my third.
One of my favorite little epiphany moments is thanks to my best friend since I could walk, Jason Wheatley. We work together at an educational consulting company called Admission Masters. He tells students that I’m an author, a phenomenal writer, blah blah blah. He talks me up far too much, I can promise you that.
But whenever I would have a meeting with a student who had previously met with Jason, they would say “I’ve heard of you. You’re the author.”
And when you hear that four days a week for more than a year, you begin to believe it.
Maybe I am an author. That’s what they think, at least.
My other favorite epiphany came on the beach not too long ago. I was playing in a beach volleyball tournament in Manhattan Beach, and I went to introduce myself to a player I had seen but not yet formally met. He said “Oh, I know who you are. You’re the writer guy.”
Yes. Hell yes.
I’m the writer guy.
I’m not an imposter.
I’m an author.