Updated: Sep 29, 2020
I'm not letting a Cyberbully Or My Imposter Syndrome Win
As many of you know, or if you don't know, you will know now, I have imposter syndrome. I had someone ask me recently if I thought imposter syndrome could ever go away. The jury is still out on that question, from my personal experience and what my clients say, no. Why not? I say no because life happens. As a creature of comfort anytime, an obstacle appears, I want to slip right back into my well-worn shoes of imposter syndrome. Of course, obstacles come in many shapes and forms. They could look like a car breaking down at the wrong time (there never is a good time), a partner saying the wrong thing, a bosses criticism on an overwhelming day, or in this case, an adult cyberbully.
I recently experienced an adult bully. I had just finished up reaching one of my personal and professional goals. I had the opportunity to speak at Denver Startup Week. Wow, what an amazing experience. I felt great. Attendees flooded my inbox with compliments and congratulations. However, there's always one. You know the one I'm talking about, right? That one adult bully who isn't offering constructive feedback, oh no, no, no, their mission is to tear you down.
You know folks say don't let the haters tear you down. Psh, they most not have imposter syndrome because, despite all of the encouragement I had received, this one person had the power to ruin my day. Being a coach, I had to think about what would I tell my clients when facing a bully?
I dug into my arsenal of techniques and started to figure out what would work best for me. I decided to slow down and reflect. At the moment in time, I truly believed that the bully had the power and ownership to ruin my day. After reflecting, I uncovered that I was giving the bully the power to ruin my day. I asked myself a few questions: Did I want to give a mean stranger that much power? How much hurt, pain, and fear is this person in to do something like this?
What I came up with after honestly several days of reflection. Since my bully was not physically violent or threatening my life, I decided to flip my perspective. I genuinely believe hurting and scared people, hurt, and scare people. That is not in any way to excuse the behavior. It did give me insight into the fact that I don't know this person, and if I did, I would get away from them immediately. I control who has the power in my life, and the only person I want at the driver's seat is me.
I also chose to document and keep on file what my cyberbully had said. I hope that this person was passing through on a warpath of destruction. However, if they try to circle back, I'm prepared to report them and file a formal complaint to the authorities, their employer, and university.
Staying silent would have continued the opportunity for me personally to harbor a sense of helplessness and powerlessness, fear, anger, shame, and embarrassment. The last decision I made was to share my experience with others. What my adult bully meant to ruin me with is hopefully inspiration for someone else.