A few months ago, I signed up for an Executive Coaching continuing education class. I believe very strongly in always learning more, expanding my skills and increasing my knowledge. I was excited about the class and learning from the instructor, who is someone I’ve admired for a number of years.
The class started with a half day virtual retreat where the group could meet each other and start to set our goals for the time together…and wouldn’t you know it, I immediately felt like I didn’t belong. I started comparing myself to all of the other coaches and thinking I’d made a mistake by joining the program.
Fast forward a few hours into that first class, and we all had a chance to discuss some of our goals and our fears…and wouldn’t you know it, we all felt the same way. Every single person said that they had been comparing themselves to the rest of us and coming up short.
I don’t share this to be a downer – quite the opposite! It was a perfect reminder of being a human on a very human journey. We all (sometimes) feel like we don’t belong. The problem is, we usually keep that feeling to ourselves and never realize how truly universal it is. I’m so grateful that we all got a chance to share our fears because I left that retreat feeling MUCH differently than I did in the beginning. I even laughed about my progression with some friends later that evening.
If you’re in a situation now where you’re feeling like you don’t belong, please know that you are not alone. Maybe your situation is different from mine and it’s not a “first day of class.” Maybe you’re the only new person or you’re trying something new on your own. The same truth still stands: everyone feels this way. No matter how far you’ve come or how much confidence you’ve built, we all still (sometimes) feel like we don’t belong. Tell someone – or if that feels too uncomfortable, ask someone you trust when they’ve felt that way. I promise you they’ll have a story just like I do, and you’ll be reminded about just how much you really do belong.