If you or someone you know is allowing self-doubt to stifle their success, Michelle Obama is here to remind you that issa lie. I don't know who needs to hear this, but all of the ugly, non-productive, invalidating self-talk that happens internally is false as f*ck and in actuality, you are the only one who is stopping you from walking in your greatness. OK, I lied. I know exactly who needs to hear this––it's me.
As a self-proclaimed goal junkie, I constantly struggle with proving my worth without realizing that I'm a whole prize in these streets and in 2020, I've decided that enough is enough. If you, too, battle with chronic imposter syndrome and are looking to level up your mentality, our good sis and Forever First Lady had a word that will help you leave self-doubt where it met you and kick your hustle into overdrive. As a speaker on the Obama Foundation Leaders: Asia-Pacific panel in Kuala Lumpur last month, Michelle, who has struggled with imposter syndrome herself, broke down how the cycle actually starts:
"Because you've been told that you're not good enough, when you're in a room, you're wondering, 'Well, how did I get here if I've been told I'm not good enough?' Women feel it oftentimes because society says you shouldn't be doing that. Right? So you feel like an imposter in your own life. You feel like, especially if you've achieved success or you're in rooms that you're not supposed to be in because society has told you that, you think maybe somebody's going to discover that I shouldn't be here."
While this feeling of inferiority and not belonging may be uncomfortable (and untrue), Michelle assured us that it is not uncommon.
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"Imposter syndrome is, it's a thing in your head. And you know, it's just like self-confidence is just like any internal characteristic. Much of it is what you practice telling yourself. If you've heard that you're not good enough, that's what you're practicing. I'm just here to tell you it is not true. You wouldn't be here. You wouldn't be doing what you're doing if you didn't belong here."
Somewhere between childhood and becoming adults, we forgot that we can do whatever TF we want with our lives. After years of being told that our ambitions are too ambitious, we begin to believe it ourselves, but Michelle Obama needs you to know that buying into that bullsh*t will never pay off. She explained:
"I'm 55 now and I've seen it. I've been waiting to be as bad as people told me I would be. I've been waiting to fall and mess up and fail. I've been waiting because that's what they said. I didn't belong at Princeton. Right. I applied to Princeton University. My college counselor said, you, you know, that school's too much for you. Well, I applied. Anyway, I got in. I was waiting for it to be hard and for everybody else to be so much smarter. They weren't, they weren't."
While imposter syndrome may have a grip on your mind, Michelle needs you to know that it's time to release that demon and put your foot on they neck, sis.
"You're needed at those tables. So you can't sit there wondering whether you belong because you'll waste your time in those seats and you'll hold your voice back and you won't be able to make change because you're waiting for somebody to tell you that you belong. I'm telling you, you belong. Practice a different set of messages."
Featured image by Erika Goldring/Getty Images