I was chatting with someone earlier in the year who watched Dancing With The Stars live in the studio one Sunday night. She told me how spectacularly difficult the dancing was as witnessed in real life, and therefore how great the achievement it is for the stars to get up, show up and dance for charity.
This made me think about our dirty little secret, our insidious Kiwi Tall Poppy Syndrome (although contrarily, we do love an underdog). And it made me wonder how many of our couch potato selves - at the same time as my friend was watching DWTS live - were at home flinging barbs at the TV when we should have nothing but praise for these brave celebs.
In reality, our small nation of thinkers, triers and doers should instead be supporting and elevating people who are pursuing worthy endeavours, not tearing them down.
Which is perhaps why my feelings of Imposter Syndrome are not entirely something of my own imagination. In other words, is Imposter Syndrome part of the trickle down effect of Tall Poppy Syndrome? Are people flinging barbs at me? And what can I do to stop it... or stop caring about it?
And what can you do to stop it?
Is there someone out there who could do it better than me?
In answer to whether there are people who could do what I do better than me (or you), then probably, yes. But that doesn't make me - or you - an imposter. By saying we are imposters, it means we're admitting to being frauds, fakes, and that we're watching our backs waiting to be caught out.
But... no one thinks like we do, no one creates like we do, no one does exactly what we do, and everyone is UNIQUELY BRILLIANT.
My pathway has not been a continuous flow of happy accidents and serendipitous luck, and probably nor has yours. Rather, it's a result of education, talent, seeing opportunities, taking risks, learning on the job and making sh** happen by anticipating when the world is ready for change.
Yet, if you're anything like me, you still continue to ask questions like:
"Am I allowed to say this?"
"Should I say this?"
"Does someone know more than me?"
"Have I considered everyone's opinion?"
I am creating the cure
I have decided it's time to stop this time-wasting inner-chatter, and I encourage you to do the same. This year I was announced as the only New Zealand finalist for Social Media Marketer of the Year at the Australasian Social Media Marketing Awards. That's a pretty big accolade and endorsement that what I am doing is making a solid contribution to our industry.
They don't think I am a fraud, so why should I?
I'm getting out of my own way... now get out of yours!
I've never thought of myself as an industry leader, but I am an industry leader, an expert in my field. I am in the business of encouraging and supporting people to follow their dreams. And I am really damn passionate about it!!
I've been doing it for years, having started a decade ago launching my sister Kimberley Crossman's brand and website, and as the general manager of an Influencer Agency, to which I built and grew to a 7 figure business in 2 years, where I advocated for social media content creators to be paid for their work, have negotiated, strategised and overseen more than $4 million (and counting) Influencer Advertising and Marketing campaigns, plus sending social media careers into the stratosphere. And I have given back in a myriad of ways, having coffees (or wines) offering advice, sitting on committees, speaking at events, judging, and sharing my knowledge to elevate the industry.
And if you cast your eye backwards at your career, you have probably done the same.
But because I have been like the tennis coach, always behind the scenes or on the side lines, I'd never thought I was particularly special. But I am a leader and I do show leadership every day. I am thoughtful, inclusive, challenging the status quo. I have a thirst for knowledge and read, research and question everything, and turn the information into something meaningful and useful for my clients.
There is no Bachelor of Social Media Influencer Marketing... I am creating this new knowledge and acting on it every day. I am the person I show myself to be.
It's time for me to really step up, get out of my own way, and be a leader. So expect to hear from me and see me a lot more. You won't agree with everything I say - I don't want you to. Because I am allowed to say this, I should say this, most people don't know what I know, and I don't need to consider everyone's opinion to have my own.
And I challenge you to do the same!
This is just the start...
Rochelle Sheldon is the chief specialist and coach for Socialites. She specialises in agency, social media strategy and influencer marketing. To connect with her: