If I had a dollar for every person I know who is making a difference doing something they care about yet feels insecure about their right to be doing it, I would be funding a very nice round the world trip.
There’s the interior decorator who longed to be a stylist but doubted that she could pull it off. She was doing the work anyway without realising or charging for it when she consulted her clients about colours paint effects. That’s all changed now and she has even launched her own lifestyle magazine.
Then there’s the tech guy turned baker who began his business with an obsession and an email list of friends who waited with bated breath for his loaves once a week. He taught himself everything he knows. In the end he left his job and opened a bakery where he pours a whole lot of love into his recipes and the service he gives his customers.
I could tell you stories about successful authors who published because they could, not because they were anointed with a book deal. About the film editors without diplomas, the consultants with no MBA and the movement makers without permission.
Every one of us will question our right to be doing that thing that matters. Second guessing ourselves is part of the human condition. I love how Neil Gaiman described this phenomenon in his commencement address using his wife Amanda’s expression “the fraud police”. We’re going to worry about not being good enough, or being found out, or not having the piece of paper and the proof.
Here’s the only thing you need to remember. Legacies are not built on credentials.
Your work is your proof. The difference you make in peoples’ lives is your proof. The smiles on faces and the brighter start to someones day. They are your proof.
That’s all the proof you need.
Image by Remon.