When the death-knock of entrepreneurial dreams swings by your house.
Last week, after Prom Queen was officially declared open for 2019 (I opened my laptop instead of a bottle of Chardonnay), the strangest thing happened.
My fingers were ready to boogie across the keyboard like John Travolta circa 1977, yet nothing but a motley crew of cringeworthy paragraphs seeped onto the computer screen. Joke after joke fell flat (unlike my comedy gold of 2018), and I deleted my boring as batshit blogs as quickly as I penned them. I pictured my woefully neglected followers, contemporaries and critics as they rolled their eyes, guffawing, and tsk-tsk-ing, satisfied my game was up.
Who did I think I was?
A one hit wonder. A flash in the pan. All style and no substance. Maybe I wasn’t really a copywriter after all?
It seemed the very thing I fought tirelessly against last year had snuck undetected through the back door, fixed itself a drink, indulged in a mid-afternoon nap and left a distinct drool ring on my only cushion not from Kmart.
The death-knock of entrepreneurial dreams wasn’t just parked out front - Imposter Syndrome was in da house.
So naturally, I did what any well-adjusted adult faced with a career implosion would do: I bought an outfit online (looking more like a copywriting would help, right?) collapsed on the couch hugging the remnants of my novelty-sized Christmas Toblerone and turned on the TV.
Some might call it self-sabotage. (My mum calls it “piss-farting around.”) But I prefer to think of my crisis-induced Breaking Bad binge as DIVINE INTERVENTION. Namely, Season 4, Episode 10.
I’ll summarise: Jesse is flown to Mexico by his drug lord boss, Gus, expressly to teach the cartel’s chief chemist how to cook - methamphetamine, that is. CCC is less than impressed. “Is this a joke?!”, he exclaims.
Gus and CCC exchange heated words in Spanish. Jesse, with his hands stuffed deep in the pockets of his trademark homie jeans, grows increasingly nervous and the cartel’s musclemen slowly tighten their circle around him.
Jesse can’t speak a lick of Spanish.
He’s no chemist.
He’s not even Gus’ head cook.
Jesse’s a trash talking, disaster-prone, high school drop-out, ice-addict recovering, meth lab assistant who can’t even synthesise phenylacetic acid. (I mean, that’s so Chemistry 101, right?) But there's one thread left to cling to: Jesse knows his results are nothing short of spectacular.
“Tell this asshole if he wants to learn how to make my product, he's gotta do it my way.”
“I speak English” replies CCC, coolly.
And right on cue Imposter Syndrome swaggers across the set, its trademark smirk unmistakable. Where there’s a threat or challenge or drama, Imposter Syndrome thrives. Imposter Syndrome stakes out a prime viewing position, right in the middle of the circling cartel, ready to watch this imposter get KO’d.
But Jesse surprises everyone - himself included.
“So, you understand what "asshole" means? Now, go get me my phenylacetic acid, asshole. I can wait... Gives us time to talk about the state of this lab. Don't you have standards? I mean, this place is disgusting! We're gonna scour every vat, every tank, every cook surface. We clean up every possible source of contamination and only then, we cook. Comprende?
“Who do you think you are?” The cartel's chief chemist takes one last swing, before Jesse delivers the final blow that lands Imposter Syndrome on its ass.
“I'm the guy your boss brought here to show you how it's done.”
There’ll always be someone who knows more than you.
There’ll always be someone more qualified than you.
There’ll always be someone more experienced than you.
There’ll always be someone who’s made fewer mistakes than you.
There’ll always be someone with a bigger budget, more staff, a better website, nicer office, or fancier equipment.
And speaking from personal experience, someone with much, much better dance moves too.
And for every one of them, there's someone wishing they had your courage to look Imposter Syndrome in the eye, take the entrepreneurial leap and trust they’re capable of delivering class-A results.
Now get up off the couch and step away from the Toblerone. There’s work to be done.