An Exercise in Establishing Street Cred
Leave it to someone you know to pluck your strings and poke your sore spots.
This weekend, a very innocent (and informal) conversation with someone I love left me stuck for an answer. When catching up on life news and making small talk, I was asked what I was doing now? (for ‘real’ work.) When I responded, the question posed back to me left me stumped for (what I felt to be) a solid answer.
[Disclaimer: the question-poser didn’t mean anything malevolent by their question, we were engaged in simple conversation. It was my (internally perceived) lack of suitable response – my lack of confidence in my ability to respond – that left me boggled.]
“What qualifies you to do what you’re doing now?”
Gulp. Self-doubt is a miserable thing. Logically, I know I’ve got the skills necessary to do the job. But, suddenly I need to reassure myself.
Let’s break this shit down, so that I don’t get stuck here again.
Job Title: Learning Programs Coordinator for Relationship Inspired Learning and Development
Here’s the blah-blah part: I’m responsible for planning, development, coordination, promotion, and implementation of learning programs.
We provide training to Human Services professionals, foster parents and caregivers. We’re all about growing a world of inspiring relationships by providing world class learning experiences that empower parents, teachers, professionals, mentors and leaders to cultivate better relationships and grow potential with the people they serve.
I also am responsible for planning and execution of two major professional development conferences (annually fall/spring). Additional duties: social media management, website content management, PR and marketing, communications and whatever else I’m asked to do.
I’ve got mad skillz.
Over the last 15 years, I’ve worked in hospitality, tourism, marketing, PR and communications, for a separate school division, developing culture and building grassroots initiatives.
I’ve served leadership teams and team members, volunteer boards, staff members and public. I’ve written articles, cited resources, edited hundreds of documents, been a ghost and copy writer, done web design, brand strategy and development.
I’ve worked in economic and community development, in municipal government and for not-for-profits. I’ve been a salesperson, and fund development officer, and a kick-ass event planner. I’ve spent 10 years sharpening my leadership saw – leading teams and boards, working on training and implementation, building a personal and professional development arsenal.
Above all, I’ve got relevant personal experience as a former single mother of two, on welfare, straight from an abusive relationship and restraining order – to a married mother of four managing full time career and the health and well-being of young, developing minds – two who have needed additional mental health support to deal with childhood PTSD, depression, suicidal ideation, self-harm and anxiety and panic disorder.
I’ve got shit goin’ on.
There is no room for self-doubt anymore.
You’ve earned your place.
You’re valid. And smart. And balls-to-the-wall willing to do whatever it takes.
You’re open and receptive and growing.
And you deserve to be part of something meaningful and magical and important – something that will truly serve others.
The imposter syndrome affects many of us sub-consciously (I’d wager more common in women.). For years I’ve asked myself – ‘What makes me think I can do any of it?’
I just can.
And so can you. You know your reasons. And your qualifications. You know what your strengths are. You know where your weaknesses lie. And you’re willing to fill in the blanks where you need to. And if you’re not quite there yet, it’s because you’re still growing.
And you’re qualified because you’ve earned it.
If someone has brought you into the fold, it’s because they see you’re ready to do the work.
Lean into it.
Trust they see what you’ve got to give.
Listen to your inner wisdom.
Be willing to do whatever it takes.
And tell self-doubt to fuck off every now and then.
You’ve so got this.
*street cred: Commanding a level of respect in an urban environment due to experience in or knowledge of issues affecting those environments (www.urbandictionary.com)