Am I the Only One?

I’ve been in this business for a long time… I started piecing in 1997 and started longarming in 2004 as a business. It quickly became a love… I couldn’t wait to get my piece on the longarm so I never really stretched my piecing skills. Now my longarming skills… that’s a different story. It didn’t take me long to start teaching…. 2006 and I love every minute that I spend with my students. With that being said… I do suffer from Imposter Syndrome at times. More so when I first started teaching but there are still times when I’m waiting for people to realize that I am not as good as they think I am.

When we first start on this journey most of us have no idea what we are doing and you know what??? That’s normal! If you think I knew what I was doing, you be crazy! I had no clue and learned by trial and error. What I learned is that if you aren’t failing …. you aren’t growing, see we learn more from our failures than our successes. There are still days where I am waiting for people to say… hmmmm, she isn’t as good as I thought she was. The difference between now and then… I’m ok with that. I know I love what I do and I love sharing it with as many people as I can.

Fast forward to today…. as I sit here and type out this blog. My business sure has changed a lot since I started it back in 2004 and when the pandemic hit… boom… my business model was sunk. Since I traveled to teach… it came to a screeching halt. (now the timing couldn’t have been worse since I had just gotten a divorce and needed to support myself) Over the past year and a half there have been many ups and downs in my business, when the downs hit.. I wonder maybe this is “someone” telling me I should be doing something else. But then I would hit a high… and think… I’ve got this.

Imposter syndrome hit and it hit hard. I needed to figure out how to survive with trying to teach online. I am not a techie person so the amount that I learned this year while putting together Quilter’s Groove® Heirloom Academy and Quilter’s Groove® Tribe was astounding. Hard, yes but oh so worth it but I had to keep telling myself.. you can do this, you got this. Not always the easiest thing to keep that mantra in your head.

Why am I telling you all of this? Well, there have been many new quilters that have reached out with doubts… they have had their machines for a while and they use it as a coat hanger or some such thing. I want you all to know that whether you are new at this or experienced… we almost all go through the same emotions of “what am I doing”. I can’t do this… I don’t know what I was thinking. I am here to tell you… you can do this! If I can do this… you can too. Remember we all start in the same spot and the key here is to not compare yourself to anyone!

Your journey is unique to you. Embrace the ups and downs, figure out what you can learn when something didn’t turn out the way you thought it would! Most of all….. ENJOY yourself, be kind to yourself… the things we say to ourselves in our head matter!

So as Mel Robbins says…. look in that mirror and give yourself a high five today! YOU GOT THIS!

I would love to hear from all of you…. have you ever felt like an imposter? What do you do to motivate yourself when this happens? Leave it in the comments so I don’t feel like the only imposter out here. 💕

16 thoughts on “Am I the Only One?

  1. I’ve never NOT thought I was an imposter. No matter how many shows I got into, no matter how many quilts completed, no matter who says they love my work, I always feel inadequate. It’s the main reason I decided to back off of show quilts for a while and just make quilts I personally want to do. But I’m pretty sure after I decide to re-enter the quilt world race, I’ll still feel the same: not quite good enough. But it will come on the heels of personal satisfaction, knowing I took time to please myself, grow a little technically, and relax after making what felt like endless deadlines whether imposed by show sponsors or me. And actually, none of us are imposters. We all are simply on a very long journey, all of us at different points on the roadmap. And just like any road trip, the destination can change and the time spent on the road can vary due to side trips. I hope you get to enjoy your side trips as much as I am enjoying mine.

  2. I overthink when I am tired. Sometimes I am Just.So.Tired. I have learned to respect my body. There are no mistakes, just opportunities for another choice.

  3. I love your candor, Lisa… and no, you’re not alone! I’ve had those moments myself, and being in business, meet many ladies that struggle with their self confidence! We can’t stop encouraging others, and we have to cut ourselves some slack. And as I recently learned from someone… ask… “Does is bring you joy??” If it does, then forget all of the comparisons and savor the process, be proud of the project!

  4. Hi Lisa: I am always worried that my work is not “good enough” when entering shows. I have tried to believe any comments overheard are just “constructive criticism” and I should relax about it. My quilts usually place well in their category, but the stress is there anyway to doubt myself. I did hear one fellow quilter comment, “She (meaning me) doesn’t even realize how good she really is!” I was surprised and embarrassed at her remark. As I am always doubting myself! I don”t quilt to “show off” and never intend to intimidate. I love to try something new and see if it works with my overall design and help explain how it came about, if asked. If it works, I”m happy! & that’s what it”s all about!
    I am glad you enjoy your work! It shows!!

  5. I think we live in a competitive world and are always striving to be the best at what we do. You have to take baby steps before you can run a marathon. I have learned to not compare myself to others but to look for personal improvement and growth (practice means progress not perfection). Everyone has different skill levels and we want to improve our own skills. Overthinking and being critical of our work takes the joy out of the journey to improve our skills. Whenever I get discouraged that my quilting is not good enough or that my skills are lacking I remember when I gift a quilt to others, the gratitude and excitement they show, lets me know they are appreciative of the gift which generally erases any doubts about the abilities I may have. I have learned a lot from other quilters and their support and encouragement is what helps the most. Thanks for your help in the journey. Lisa, you are a great role model

    • Thank you Rose! I agree…. we do live in a competitive world. I have taken a much needed break from competition quilting and I am just enjoying piecing and quilting for fun.

  6. One thing I have learned is people can like or dislike your work. You can compare your work to others until the cows come home. But how did you feel when you worked on it? What was happening in your life? Did it help you heal? We’re you rejoicing? Is it something that you poured your heart into and became so wrapped up in it that it took over? That’s what counts. Not how your piece compared with someone else’s. That is their struggle or joy or healing process and the individuals are two different people. And what you got out of it is totally personal just like theirs. I would think it would be hard to judge a quilt keeping those things in mind.

  7. Oh, yeah. 16 years of quilting for others and I still have those days.

    In the beginning I was a raw nerve. Sick to my stomach every time someone picked up a quilt. Thankfully, that eased off.

    When I speak to guilds I still spend part of my lecture wondering why these people are listening to me!

    Good post!

  8. I know exactly what you mean, Lisa. My mom would always say “Fake it till you make it”. Isn’t that the truth? I always tell my customers that I am practicing on their quilts until I am good enough to quilt my own some day. It has more to do with not having enough time to do my own, but the feeling is that I am always practicing, and not quite mastering.

  9. Oh gosh! I feel this way all the time. ALL THE TIME. This pressure keeps me from doing so many things I think about doing. Then someone else will do it and I find myself thinking that I wish I had done that. Boo. My daughter called me last week with exciting news – she had received a huge promotion and raise at work, way before she should have been eligible for it. I had no doubts in her talents but she did and she told me she was feeling Imposter Syndrome….ooooooof. Did I teach her to feel that or do we just naturally fail to see our abilities?

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