“I hit that point again.” she told me.
“What point is that?” I asked.
“The point where I think I’m messing everything up, I’m not learning fast enough, and they’re going to fire me.”
I knew this point. I’d seen this person significantly advance her career over the past couple of years. Each change was moving closer to what she wanted; and each time she hit a new milestone she also hit this point of fear.
The beauty of it this time is that I could reflect some truth to her. That truth was that this point (the fear, the worry, the impostor complex) is a part of her process. Each time she took a higher level role she hit a point where these feelings kicked in…and each time she kept moving forward and kept advancing.
This is the power of knowing yourself and your process. When you can be in the discomfort of change, or of a new situation, or of uncertainty in general, and take a step back to recognize that it’s all part of your process, you can breathe.
She did just that. She listened to me reflect what I’d observed about her. She took it in and recognized it as true. These feelings are all a part of her process of moving forward toward the goals she set for herself. She probably wasn’t going to get fired, she would learn the new role and she would continue to do work that made her proud.
Just like that the fear went from being a complete brick wall to a small speed bump. When you get to know yourself and how you show up in the world, these moments of fear and discomfort become part of your experience instead of stopping points. Had she listened to those voices telling her she’d never succeed she may never have taken the steps toward her goal.
Shifting into the knowledge that those voices aren’t true and having the data to prove it, she took a deep breath and got back to work.