Captain’s Log: Esse Quam Videri, Part 2

A “Symphony of Your Life” blog with Mark Hardcastle

Captain's Log Photo

In case you missed it, here’s Part 1.

Is that what we’re all worried about? Getting “found?”

I felt like that for 4 straight years at the US Air Force Academy. I felt like a great big fake and that any day I would be “found” and shown the door. These days, in the presence of “real” authors, I feel inadequate, despite having won awards for my book and having sold out the first printing. Further, in the presence of “real” speakers I feel like I do not belong in that world. Only recently have I started to get comfortable in front of an audience. And trust me… “comfortable” is a relative term!

So here’s the question. Does that sound like you? Even in the midst of all the “authenticity” that surrounds us, or maybe particularly because of it, how do you feel? Are you afraid of being “found?” Probably so – if you’re normal.

According to Psychology Today Magazine, Imposter Syndrome affects well over half the population (November 2016, “The Fraud Who Isn’t”). And it gives us some insight about why we have it.

Maybe it has something to do with the folks we hang out with. According to the PT article several of the causes speak to our “tribe,” how we interact with them, and the environment where we spend our time.

For instance, the article says that smart folk tend to hang out with other smart folk, particularly at work, which might make one think that everybody is smart, which intellectually we know to be nonsense. But that fact doesn’t make it any more comfortable to see everyone around us as very smart. On the contrary it’s a constant challenge.

The article goes on to say that for many of us compliments have a short half-life, achievements feel unearned, criticism cuts deeply and failures linger. So we feel like imposters. All the time. Regardless of what we actually achieve.

So do you feel like an imposter? Do you find yourself working to be seen as authentic? To actually be authentic? Is the fear rooted in the possibility that we don’t seem to be the person we present? Esse Quam Videri.  Yup, my hand’s up. I know, I know. Still…

On a deeper level, could that fear come from an aspiration to be a certain person and a “knowledge” that we are not yet that person, so we shouldn’t present ourselves as such?

Now maybe we’re getting somewhere…

We’ll get to the validity of that thinking in just a sec. But let me offer a little grace right here. Does the idea that we’re not yet fully what we aspire to be mean that we’re being inauthentic or even insincere if we show up to the world as if we were fully formed?

Not if you listen to Joe Sabah, founder of NSA* Colorado. Joe is famous for saying, “You don’t have to be good to start, but you have to start to be good.”

Part 3 will give us some suggestions for getting past this sometimes-crippling fear.

Thanks for reading!

The Symphony of Your Life

#stayintheprocess

IMG_20151209_182818

*National Speakers Association

Mark graduated from the USAF Academy in 1982. After nine years as a pilot on active duty, he left the military to join a commercial airline. In addition to flying B-737s around the country, Hardcastle spends time in the Rocky Mountains and serves on the artistic staff of the Colorado Children’s Chorale. He lives in Centennial, Colorado, with his wife and four children. Need some help figuring out why you’re on this planet? Want to talk about discovering your mission and purpose? Contact Mark today to schedule a free personal consultation. He can also deliver an inspirational keynote or workshop for your organization! email: mark@symphonyofyourlife.com. 720.840.8361

Captain’s Log: Esse Quam Videri, Part 1 (of 4)

A “Symphony of Your Life” blog with Mark Hardcastle

Captain's Log Photo

Wandering on a recent layover as I do, this time in Raleigh, I happened upon an image of North Carolina’s Great Seal which includes the state’s motto: Esse Quam Videri – “To be rather than to seem.”

Stopped me in my tracks.

Am I the only one to have noticed the general obsession with “authenticity” in recent months? It seems that everywhere I look I see people trying to be “authentic”.

There’s a common angst around even the possibility of being seen as inauthentic. We’re interested in living authentically and having what we do be a true reflection of who and what we are. But hasn’t that always been the case? I mean… who doesn’t feel like that?

So why all this sudden interest? And why all this angst? And what should we do about it, if anything?

In a 1989 correspondence with William Safire of the New York Post, Woody Allen took credit for saying, “80% of success in life is showing up.” In other words, whatever your chosen field, do your work.

The quote had originated even earlier while Allen was working on “Annie Hall,” the Oscar-winning movie that came out in 1977. So it’s old enough to be a cliche’. Which means today I’m not going to ask you whether you show up. I’m going to ask you how.

How do you show up? Or maybe more clearly, who are you when you show up? Do you show up as… You?

I can see your shoulders rising. The tension building in the back of your neck. Your overall stress level getting higher. Because it’s really not that simple. So let’s see if we can get you some stress relief.

Let’s start with the obvious. Is it even possible to show up as something other than ourselves? Of course it is. There is that person who is actively trying to be deceptive, dragging his/her show wagon of snake oil from town to town.

But we aren’t that person. Which means we certainly don’t want to be perceived as that person. So why are we sometimes afraid that others might see us that way?

One reason is called Imposter Syndrome: the fear that somebody significant is gonna find out that we are intellectual frauds. Which implies that we think on some level that we actually are. That we don’t belong where we are, doing what we’re doing. And we’re gonna be kicked out.

At the US Military Academy at West Point they have an expression for what happens to a cadet when he is separated from the Academy involuntarily (for academic failure, unsatisfactory military bearing, honor violation, etc.). The cadets refer to that separation as “being found.” I’m speculating here, but I imagine the phrase may have originated early in West Point’s history when somebody realized that one of his peers no longer belonged there. His weaknesses had become apparent. His reality was discovered – found out. Or simply “found.”

Is that what we’re all worried about? Getting “found?”

In Part 2 we’ll think together about why so many of us, over 50% of the population according to Psychology Today magazine, have that fear.

Thanks for reading!

The Symphony of Your Life

#stayintheprocess

IMG_20151209_182818

Mark graduated from the USAF Academy in 1982. After nine years as a pilot on active duty, he left the military to join a commercial airline. In addition to flying B-737s around the country, Hardcastle spends time in the Rocky Mountains and serves on the artistic staff of the Colorado Children’s Chorale. He lives in Centennial, Colorado, with his wife and four children. Need some help figuring out why you’re on this planet? Want to talk about discovering your mission and purpose? Contact Mark today to schedule a free personal consultation. He can also deliver an inspirational keynote or workshop for your organization! email: mark@symphonyofyourlife.com. 720.840.8361