Tag Archive: understanding


Joining A Mastermind

Earlier this year I joined a Mastermind.

I had never heard of one until I started listening to podcasts at the beginning of 2017.  It piqued my curiosity and I did a little research.  In case you’re curious, here’s the official definition of “mastermind”:

verb (used with object)

1. to plan and direct (a usually complex project or activity), especially skillfully:

Two colonels had masterminded the revolt.

noun

2. a person who originates or is primarily responsible for the execution of a particular idea, project, or the like:

the masterminds of company policy.

http://www.dictionary.com/browse/mastermind?s=t

To join a Mastermind in this current day and age, it is basically a combination of the two definitions above – “A group of people who get together to plan and direct the execution of each individual’s ideas, projects or activities.”

Some Masterminds meet in person for an intense, multi-day, session.  Some Masterminds meet weekly, either in person or over videoconferencing, for a specific time-frame.  I’m sure there’s other formats out there, but these are the two I’m currently familiar with.  The Mastermind I joined met weekly over videoconferencing.  This allowed people from around the world to join in the sessions.

The format is simple – each week, a person in the group is the “focus” person.  The focus person brings an issue or project they are struggling with to the group and asks for ideas on how to solve the problem.  Each member of the group asks questions, if necessary, and then offers their own suggestions and ideas on how they would approach the issue or project.

I went into the sessions without having a clear idea of what I would be getting myself into.  I’m not even sure what I wanted out of the sessions for myself.  I explained that in the first session, nervous that they would point at me and declare me an intruder.  That didn’t happen – they, too, expressed that they didn’t know why they joined and only had vague ideas on what they wanted out of the sessions.

After the first session, I remembered a conversation I had with a family member a few months prior.  We were talking about the insights I had gained about myself earlier in the year – my desires, beliefs, actions; the impostor syndrome I struggled with; and my own lack of self-respect.  They commented, “This conversation is too deep for me!”  THAT is why I joined this Mastermind.  I want the deep conversations.  I want to dig down and find the root of an issue.  I want to know the “why” because the “why” explains the action.

Looking back at the 12 weeks, I have gained the following understandings of both myself and the world around me:

  • We all struggle with areas in our life that aren’t visible to others.
    • This should be a “no-brainer” – but sometimes you must remind yourself of this fact – at least, I do.
  • It is okay to be me and not apologize for it.
    • Using my strengths is not a weakness when others are threatened by them. That is their issue, not mine.
    • Keep doing and being me.
  • There is a solution to my problem/issue.
    • I just need to keep searching and asking until I find the right solution for me.
  • When I find a solution to my problem/issue, seeing the “finished” project in my head does NOT mean that the project is actually complete.
    • I tend to “see” projects in the finished state and when asked about the status of said project, replying with “it’s done”. Only one part – the planning step – is actually complete.  This doesn’t mean the project is complete.
    • This was a HUGE revelation to me! It explains why I have so many incomplete projects lying around in my world.

I’m still gaining insights into myself from things recommended and suggested during the 12 week Mastermind.  I have a list of books, podcasts and ideas waiting to be explored that were suggested, not only to me, but to the others in the group that I too want to dive deeper into.

I now have international friends I can connect with to explore ideas, share wins and encourage them in their struggles while they encourage me in mine.  This is the best take-away from the entire experience.

Would I join another Mastermind if time and money were not factors?  Absolutely.

Would I recommend you join a Mastermind if you are thinking about it?  Definitely.

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Impostor Syndrome

The very title has me hanging my head in defeat.

Who do I think I am?  Why do people think they can trust me with these responsibilities?  Surely everyone knows that I’m a fraud, just as I know it.  One day, they will know that I’m not who they think I am and will point and say “SHAME!”

What Is Impostor Syndrome?

Impostor Syndrome is a pervasive feeling of self-doubt, insecurity, or fraudulence despite often overwhelming evidence to the contrary.  It strikes smart, successful individuals.  It often rears its head after an especially notable accomplishment, like admission to a prestigious university, public acclaim, winning an award, or earning a promotion. 

Source

I have felt like an impostor most of my life.

Why?

I don’t have a ready answer for that question.

When I was a child, I didn’t feel like I fit in with the other kids.  I wanted desperately to fit in, but my likes and dislikes didn’t fit in with theirs.  So, I changed, as best I could, to try to fit into their mould.  I loved wearing dresses in elementary school, but no one else did – so I forced myself to wear pants.  They loved music, I preferred my environment to be quiet and peaceful – when I did listen to music, it wasn’t what everyone else was listening to; so, again, I was labeled different.

Going into the teenage years is awkward enough for most kids; to me it seemed like everyone else had figured it out, but I was from another planet.  I liked school, loved learning – but that’s not what rebellious teenagers are supposed to do.  So I didn’t study, my one avenue that I could successfully rebel at – and succeeded with good grades anyway.  I was in honors classes, and I questioned why – I didn’t study, I didn’t want to care about getting good grades – couldn’t the adults see that?

And then it happened, I actually failed.  It came at a time when I should have been at the top of my glory – a senior in high school, a major part in a play, a leader on my team – and I failed English class.  School rules state you cannot participate if you fail – and I finally proved what no one else knew but me – I was a failure.  I was ashamed of myself.  I ran away, literally dropping out of school, certain that everyone was pointing at me behind my back.

The months that I was away from home were not all roses and fun, but neither was it gloom and doom either.  I learned a lot while I was away – about the world, about myself, and about life in general.

I had no direction, no purpose to my life at that point.  I fell into adulthood working, paying rent and wondering what was next.

Marriage – which was again a failure (if you count that I divorced him within 2 years).  Yes, I had my wonderful son Buddy out of the deal, but even that made me question myself at times.  Flotsam was ashamed of our son; he was ashamed of his disabilities; he was ashamed of me for “giving” him a disabled son.  The doubts would occasionally creep in, would make me wonder – am I a failure as a mother too?

Work was no better.  I was quickly promoted, a high-school drop-out, from employee to supervisor – the youngest in the company (I was only 21).  I had other employees questioning, within my hearing, what I had done to deserve the promotion over them?  I blew the comments off, I worked hard, and I learned all I could.  But still, I felt like I didn’t belong there.

Every few years, another promotion to another department, brought back the same doubts, the same questions – why?  Why do they believe in me?  Why do they trust me?

During this time I married Hun, with his three children; and Jetsam who openly questioned my value.  She acknowledged that I was a mother, but sneered that I was obviously not as good of a mother as she was.  That I failed at being a mother.  The kids, feeding off their mom’s disdain for me (desperate for her approval), echoed her statements, determined not to give me a chance.  So it became a self-fulfilling prophecy for them – in their eyes I am a failure of a parent.  Today, I still question what I did wrong; how, when I love these kids so much, how did I fail with them?  I question this as the failure is all mine.

And then it happened, at work I was promoted to the point that I could no longer succeed.  I failed and I could no longer handle the pressure.  I crumpled and quit, willing to throw away a 20 year career.  The stress of trying to prove that I was worthy was too great.  I was a failure and now everyone knew it.

I stepped back; I examined my life, my hopes, my dreams, my own desires.

My mind wandered – researching, learning, soaking-up how to find myself again.  Reading, podcasts, journaling, meditating; all in hopes of rediscovering who I truly am.

I concluded that I had not been living an authentic life; that I had been living my life for others, to make them happy rather than myself.  Glimpses of my true self had poked through, straining to free itself from the cage I had placed it in – trying to appear “worthy” of those around me who wanted me to be someone else, someone different.

The times I had stood up for not only myself, but for the kids – to Flotsam, to Jetsam, and even to Hun.

The time I had insisted that I wasn’t ready for a promotion – knowing in my heart that it would lead to the failure it finally did.

Ignoring those around me, admonishing me that I cared too much for kids who didn’t return my feelings, telling me to give up – standing my ground and saying “no, I will not!”

It has startled me, in writing this post, to come to the realization that I have been an impostor.  That I have good reason to feel like one – because I am one.

I have been trying to be someone I’m not all this time.  I have failed at being Karaboo.

All this time, I have been ashamed of who others think I am, instead of embracing the greatness of me.

Yes, I am stubborn – but that also means that I am determined, persistent, steadfast, tenacious and tough.

I can be opinionated – but also confident, bold, courageous, undaunted and self-assured.

I tend to be judgmental – which is a combination of my intuition, awareness, experience, reasoning and understanding – and more often than not, my insights are correct.

Finally, I have been accused of being uncaring – they see the surface of my intensity and not my passion, dedication, and spirit.

People who know me are going to say I have changed.

They will be right.