on impostor syndrome, procrastination, and putting one foot in front of the other

Ten years ago, I ran the Chicago Marathon with my Dad. I am far from athletic. I actually don’t even remember why I decided I was going to start running, but I did. And I loved it. Marathon training was the best for me. I had a plan. I had a goal. And as long as I executed the plan, I knew I could get to the finish line. I loved the sense of accomplishment I felt putting in those miles. I loved knowing every time I put those shoes on I was ensuring I would finish. And finish we did. I couldn’t have done it without my Dad, though. If anyone has ever run that course, Chicago does a very mean thing right at the end involving a ramp which after 25.5 miles looks like a mountain. I think it was the first time I dropped the f-bomb in front of him.

This year we were going to run a half marathon, but decided to drop it to a 5k because I hadn’t run in I don’t know how long and he was a little worried about that distance. Despite knowing I still have to put in those miles, I’ve managed to skip out on runs left and right. “Oh it’s only 3.1 miles! I can do that!” You know what? I’m not going to be able to do that unless I get out there and get out there now because October 11th is coming and I’m still making excuses for why I’m not running.

I’m procrastinating. Because now I’m afraid. I’m afraid I’m going to fail. I’m afraid it’s going to be really hard.

I recently took on a new professional opportunity because I knew it would be good for me and I was flattered to be asked. As soon as the deadlines came and the expectations were laid out, I completely panicked. What was I thinking?!? I can’t do this! Why did they think I could do this?!? I’m terrified of this project and I’m going to fail but failure isn’t an option and I know I just need to put on my big girl panties and do it but there’s the laundry and here’s those books I need to read and don’t forget you’re co-presenting at the state conference for the first time and that’s a huge opportunity too and don’t let anyone down and! and! and!

I was procrastinating. Because I was afraid of failing.

So first off, I made myself go back and read Amy’s excellent post on the old Storytime Underground site: There is Something Rotten in the State of YS Professional Development and that call to arms made me feel about 9000 times better.

Then, I came up with a plan. I came up with a timeline. I started actually working on the project instead of just stressing about the project. Guess what? Not only am I finding I am more than capable, I’m actually having fun and I believe I’m going to contribute something really good.

Next up: put on those running shoes and get out there. Enough with being afraid of failing. It’s time to fail forward.


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