I’ve talked about imposter syndrome before — it’s that crazy voice in your head that tells you that you can’t do it. More than that, you shouldn’t be doing it.
It’s been a summer of imposter syndrome for me. I had a total business flop. I got asked to speak at my favorite event to attend. And I’m opening up a new space.
All this newness is making me doubt myself at every turn.
So the other night, I settled in with a nice plate of cheese, and decided to watch the new documentary about Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. It was a fascinating look at how Fred Rogers developed the show, largely by addressing his own childhood fears, insecurities, and loneliness.
It’s a great look at how someone understood his market on a deep level. He even had a pamphlet for his writers to help with the voice of the show.
But what most struck me was an old piece of paper found near Fred Rogers’ typewriter. In a bout of writer’s block… he must’ve used the old trick of “start typing anything.” And this is what he came up with:
This stopped me in my tracks. This man, who’s entire message was about being kind to yourself and “you’re special just the way you are…” faced imposter syndrome, too.
As I dug into more of Mister Rogers content for grown-ups, I found this from a commencement speech”
“From the time you were very little, you’ve had people who have talked you into talking, sung you into singing, loved you into loving.
On this extra special day, let’s take a minute of silence to think of those extra special people. Some of them may be right here, some may be far away. Some way even be in heaven. No matter where they are, deep down you know they’ve always wanted what was best for you. They’ve always cared about you beyond measure and have encouraged you to be true to the best, the deepest, the loveliest within you. Let’s just think about those people now.
(One minute of silence.)
Whomever you’ve been thinking about: just imagine how grateful they must be that you remember them when you think of your own becoming.
We don’t always succeed in what we try—certainly not by the world’s standards—but I think you’ll find it’s the willingness to keep trying that matters most. It’s not the honors and the prizes and the fancy outsides of life which ultimately nourish our souls. It’s the knowing that we can be trusted, that we never have to fear the truth, that the bedrock of our very being is good stuff.”
It made me smile that nearly 30 years since I watched the show after school, Mister Rogers still made me feel normal and less alone.
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