This is a message for all of my overthinking friends paralysed with impostor syndrome, doubting their place in the world. I have been there. I wanted this to be a compilation of the lessons that I wish I’d understood and acknowledged when I started my medical degree, but hindsight is always 20/20, right?
Wherever you are, you’re there for a reason
I truly believe that everything happens for a reason. The way I see it, every moment in your life, every experience you’ve had, every choice you’ve made has eventually led up to this specific moment, so how could there not be a reason for it?
I know that not everyone is religious or spiritual, but for me, having faith and trust in God’s plan is all I need. He has gotten me here and I’m sure, if it’s meant for me, He will get me wherever I need to be next.
Wherever you are, you deserve to be there
This one took me so long to get through my head. I’ve understated my achievements for so long, I suppose because it’s so easy to see people like you in what you consider to be better situations than you. Also, I always put so many of my hard-earned accomplishments down to luck or flukes in which I slipped through the cracks.
It has become incredibly clear to me that I deserve to be where I am. I have jumped through all sorts of hoops to achieve what I’ve achieved, and so have you. Your refusal to acknowledge your own hard work does nothing but shrink you and give you even less confidence to move on and do more of the stuff that excites you.
There is no such thing as pure luck when you have engineered all your luck carefully to achieve what you’ve achieved.
This is not going to be as difficult as you think
I started medical school, infamous for being notoriously difficult, wondering how on earth I would make it through. I’m not actually finished yet (or even that close, for that matter), but I do know that I overstated how hard life was going to get right from the start.
The next step of your life, whether that be college or university or a new job, may well be difficult and be a source of frustration for you. That doesn’t mean that it’s impossible. Improvise, adapt, overcome, and above all else, remember that everyone around you doing the same thing as you is a human being and not some crazy more-capable-than-you robot that lives and breathes success in your field. If they can do it, and if people have been doing the same thing as you for years on end before you, then they will be doing it for years on end after you. Of course, you can do it.
Furthermore, don’t lose sight of your passion in the logistics of everyday life. I hope you’re doing something that you enjoy, and if you are, then channel that passion in your hard work. Remembering the why helps zoom out from these smaller issues and frustrations into the big picture, which will inevitably remind you that nothing worth having comes easy.
You’re going to regret not making the most of it
The more fear and negativity you hold when you enter a new situation, the less you’ll be able to focus on enjoying yourself. And how can you find joy if not by enjoying yourself as much as you can at every given opportunity?
A concept I came across in a book I’ve been reading recently (Never Eat Alone by Keith Ferrazzi) was about serendipity and how you can engineer your own serendipity by making yourself open to new experiences. This can be as easy as going somewhere you’ve never been before or speaking to someone you don’t know. These actions increase the likelihood of you experiencing serendipity, which is, by definition, the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.
There is no real success without failure
You need to get out of your head that failure is a bad thing. Failure gives you the opportunity to improve your skills, try something new, and come back better than ever. And if you fail again, you get even better, until eventually you succeed, or you find something beyond your original goal to achieve.
I really identify with that stereotype of a bright child who excelled at a young age and peaked so early that every subsequent failure, when things actually started to become difficult, felt life-ruining. This did nothing but led to me developing extreme perfectionism out of fear of going wrong. And perfectionism is a whole new can of worms, because would you rather have a completely finished but terrible first draft, or nothing beyond a title written down because every word has to be perfect the first-time round?
Navigating these different realms, finding peace with failure, and embracing it without shame has been difficult and has taken time. I still think I have a long road ahead before I feel really comfortable with that, but unlearning unhealthy ways of thinking takes time and it’s okay.
I promise I am not calling you out, I am calling myself out because this is who I’ve always been and I feel like this was all stuff I needed to hear at a certain point. If this resonated with you then you might need to hear it too.
The first step to resolving the issue is accepting that you have an issue. I feel like my life has been drifting slowly from the vision I had of my perfect life, and the first way to get on track is by finding the confidence in myself to change things.
I wish you the best of luck with whatever you’re doing now and next, and I hope you always remember your power.