Most of my life, I have felt like a fraud, especially when people make well-meaning comments about my successes. Some people call that imposter syndrome, meaning I don’t feel deserving of success.
While that may be partly true, there’s more to it.
I have felt like a fraud because some people say I make success look easy and effortless, which is not the case at all. People may assume hard work and ambition were involved, but not many people have any idea about the monumental struggle I've had to overcome to “make myself do
My brothers and I were raised by a divorced, single mom. We grew up food-stamp and government-housing poor and I concluded that money and high achievement would be the path to security. As a teen, I had two jobs while holding down a 4.0 GPA. I worked retail jobs full-time through college, and after graduation, the need to be “the best”
carried into my professional life.
By my late twenties, my get-up-and-go started disappearing. I was in outside sales and on many days, I'd find myself sifting through racks in Goodwill for hours until the panic was great enough to send me into a tailspin. Only then could I get my work done. I'd meet my activity quota for the day in about three
chaotic hours, so my boss wouldn't know the difference and I was still the hero.
On the outside, everything looked great. I was salesperson of the month, the quarter, the year, with trips, bonuses and boxes of plaques to show for it. But my achievements covered up my increasing desperation, and what I called cement shoes. Paralysis. I didn't
understand why it was so hard for me to do the things I needed to do, and even the things I loved to do.
Recruiters started calling and pretty soon, I had a position where I didn’t have an office to report to. Things got so bad without structure that often I was unable to get out of the house to work at all some days. When that happened, I would
work like a madwoman the following day to hit my activity goals. I logged half the calls on the day I stayed home, and the other half on the day I worked, essentially falsifying my reports to my employer. The shame was immense, but I couldn’t seem to do it any other way. Yes, eventually I got caught and chose to resign from that job. I got another, but my struggles persisted.
As the years passed, this pattern continued personally and professionally. My outer life always looked great, while on the inside, I was hopeless that I could ever function normally, without the unhealthy adrenaline spikes needed to finally get moving.
My shame and identification as a “defective human” grew, which only
added to my daily paralysis—the frequent inability to manage my time and intentions, whether for big goals, or small things like taking a walk, making a phone call, or planning dinner.
Let me stop for a second. If you’re nodding your head, keep reading because you're going to love where this is going. If you're thinking, “Wow that sounds terrible, I can't even imagine.” Then this big idea I am sharing today is probably not going to be for you. But let's keep going and you can be the
judge of that.
My struggles didn’t stop when I became self-employed. In fact, they worsened without external structure. On blog days, it always seemed like it took all day, but really it took about eight hours to procrastinate. Finally adrenaline kicked in, and I would get it done late in the evening to meet my early morning scheduled
I have experienced avoidance around painting, and I really love to paint. I might wake up with a plan to paint, only to find myself updating my art inventory, making work calls, or doing laundry. If those were the things I really needed to do, then I might paint instead. I felt compelled to do the opposite of what I most needed or
wanted to do.
Each day, I promised myself I would do better. I would make a to-do list, and then watch the day unfold exactly opposite of my intentions, or worse, I would descend into such a state of overwhelm that I literally felt frozen. I spent a lot of time scrolling through social media posts, cleaning up email, or watching kitten videos,
only to wonder where the time went. I hated myself for having so little self-control. I felt like I was wasting my life, one day at a time.
Things had gotten so bad by June, 2021 that I had not finished a painting for about four months, but everything still looked good on the outside. I managed to keep my weekly emails going, even if it meant
staying up all night to do it. Paintings were selling, but inventory was dwindling, which caused me to panic because I wasn't able to make myself paint. I felt like such a mindfulness fraud, spending much of my day checked out and overwhelmed. I knew all the things to do and yet, couldn't make myself do them.
Well, let me cut to the chase. I heard a phrase
about fifteen months ago that changed my life. And that's saying a lot. I have been an avid student of personal development and spirituality for decades. I've spent a small fortune on therapy and yet, this "stuckness" continued to plague me daily.
The pearl of wisdom, which I freely pass on to you, is this:
"If you haven't been able to do something yet, it's because you haven't had enough help yet."
Yes, especially when you’ve tried
everything else and still cannot seem to make yourself do what’s important to you.
Or at least not without all the procrastination, avoidance, fear, perfectionism, laziness—whatever may be getting in your way—which
leads to feeling like a schmuck and a failure, no matter how much you have achieved. Life is too short to keep living this way.
Fast forward to the present. My life is so different after learning (and implementing) a few simple tools, tricks and resources for time and intention management, paired with more help, accountability and support than I ever
imagined was possible. How so? Here are just a few ways life has improved:
- Now I write and format my Tuesday email during a few hours on Monday mornings, or even earlier if I'm going to be busy Monday. (It’s no longer okay to be working on it late the night before.)
- In January, 2022, I had my first solo show ever, with seventeen large paintings.
- I’m pursuing even more gallery placements, because I am able to paint regularly and fulfill market
- I started a daily meditation practice and so far, have meditated for 257 days in a row. The longest I’d ever practiced meditation before was maybe a few weeks.
For years, I have felt like I needed gentle hand-holding to help me complete basic tasks and gain traction on bigger things. I didn’t realize there were other people
who have the same challenges.
I no longer feel like a fraud. I have a system that works. I’m not perfect and my days aren't perfect by any means, but seldom do I meet the end of the day now, feeling overwhelmed and ashamed for my inability to keep my word to myself. I have always prided myself on being honest and trust-worthy to others but I have
been a habitual liar to myself.
“Tomorrow I’m going to … ”
Yeah right. BUT NOT ANYMORE.
We can create support around anything we want to do, and take small but consistent steps to see forward movement. I call it Micro Magic! And it’s too good to keep to myself.
If you struggle with stuckness, inertia, quicksand, cement shoes—whatever you call it that keeps you from following through on things that are important to you, I want to help you. And last week, I figured out how to make that happen in a practical way for you and me.
Today I’m opening registration for a pilot program called, Micro Magic! which entails twenty-two days of forward progress, one small step at a time. Built to bust through fear and procrastination and able to fit into the busiest schedule, Micro Magic will mobilize you in the things that matter most.
With daily accountability and support, we’re going to start a new trend of keeping self-commitments. Micro movements lead to massive momentum.
The first ever Micro Magic session starts in ONE
Click here to watch a short, three minute video explaining more about Micro Magic and how we will work together to get you moving on the things you really want and need to
Registration is OPEN! *While the
group size is not limited, the first twenty-five people to complete registration will be given FREE access to a 45 minute, LIVE, pre-launch group session on Zoom, where Angela will work with individual participants to demonstrate how to clarify intentions and micro movements to kickstart their program of daily actions. This bonus class is free for the first twenty-five people who complete registration, a $25 value. Everything is explained here.
Thanks for letting me be honest. I’ve had to ignore the voice that says, “Don’t say that! You’ll lose people. They need to think you have it all together.”
If my true confessions lead to some people unsubscribing, that’s okay. We have enough “experts” out there who only show the outer polish, but that doesn’t inspire me. I need to know that someone gets my struggles and if they’ve found a way through
them, I want them to be brave enough to tell me how, so I can find my way too. God bless. And for those of you who have similar struggles, let's do this!