I am a bodybuilder. The hardest thing I've had to grapple with in a long time is embracing "bodybuilder" as part of my identity. There are so many reasons why, from imposter syndrome all the way to the stereotypes I previously associated with bodybuilders. However, as I prepare to compete at the Pro natural bodybuilding level, I have to clearly identify with my goals. This requires affirming that I am a bodybuilder, yikes!
I began competing in bodybuilding last year and was incredibly successful. While I prepared to do well and channeled my energy into winning my shows, I still surprised myself. (P.S.this is what I love about setting the bar high for myself- reaching it and reminding myself how awesome I can be!). This is where the imposter syndrome comes in. If you aren't familiar with imposter syndrome it's when how you see yourself doesn't align with your accomplishments. Like maybe you're a successful professional and often find yourself feeling like you don't deserve "a seat at the table" or soon everyone is going to realize you're a fraud... even though you've done the work and are qualified for the job. So yeah, I have had a lot of moments since winning a show where I feel like I didn't deserve to win and or some how cheated the system. I think there's a part of me that feels like I didn't pay my dues since I won in my first year of competing.
As I process through the imposter syndrome, I come up against the stereotypes I've associated with bodybuilding my whole life. I'm sorry if any of these offend you but hey, the good news is that I'm not actually discriminating against bodybuilders; I'm filtering through the messages that I've received about them throughout my life. Here is what I USED to believe to be true about bodybuilders: blue collar/uneducated, dumb jocks, hot headed, drink raw eggs, tan incessantly, carry around gallon jugs of water, take steroids, and only eat steamed meat and vegetables with no seasoning. Now, here's the thing about stereotypes, you can ALWAYS find someone who fits the bill. In fact stereotypes wire our brains to seek out examples to affirm what we believe to be true. This makes us feel more comfortable with the world around us. Our brains are always storing and sorting information and if you don't pay attention it can get away from you. This obviously happened to me in this case so I've been forced to redefine for myself what it means to be a bodybuilder. My conclusion? Just like every other group of humans, bodybuilders are individuals with their own unique physical/behavioral traits.
I am a bodybuilder.
I am a bodybuilder and I am smart, educated, naturally tan (ha), athletic, funny, extremely intense about social justice, a mother, a wife, carry allllls kinds of water bottles, supplement with vitamins/minerals,/herbs/creatine/occasionally fat burners, and I use all kinds of seasoning n sauces folks. Now that I've cleared up the misconceptions about what it means to be a bodybuilder and acknowledged my imposter syndrome, I can identify with my goal. I can allow myself to be believe that I am worthy of achieving my goals so that I can start acting like it. This is a major key to success!! You have to actually believe that toy are worthy of achieving your goals. If you don't you will constantly self sabotage by playing small and blaming your shortcomings on other people/circumstances.
The first step to identifying with your goals is to create an affirmation. Next you need to ask youself, who do I need to be to achieve my goals? What kind of thoughts, beliefs, habits and results does this person have? Lastly, you need to start acting like that person NOW! Don't wait until your imposter syndrome goes away to start working toward the best version of yourself. You are worthy of your goals so, identify with them.
Thanks for reading,
There's a song for that: "I am", Baby Tate