There I was, Long Beach, California - home of the Long Beach International Karate Tournament!
I was a 2nd Degree Brown Belt - waiting for my turn in the ring!
I thought about all of the competitors who had competed here before me; many great tournament fighters earned their stripes at this tournament, including Chuck Norris, Tony Martinez Sr., Mike Stone, Joe Lewis, Benny "The Jet" Urquidez, Billy Blanks, Jerry Piddington, and "Superfoot" Bill Wallace.
This was the place Bruce Lee was first introduced to the martial arts community in August 1964, and demonstrated his one-inch punch and two-finger push-ups.
I heard them call my name, stepped into the ring, and looked up at into the faces of 7 Black Belt judges waiting for me to begin!
My Sensei had taught me a 7th Degree Black Belt kata and the time had come for me to show what I’d learned by competing at the Long Beach International Karate Tournament!
I was definitely "in the zone!"
For nine months I had studied, corrected and perfected the kata in preparation for the tournament!
I knew that kata backwards and forwards and could have done it in my sleep!
But as I stood there, looking into the eyes of those seven Black Belt judges, I could feel my knowledge drain from my mind.
😨It was as though a wall of white had come down between me and the judges;
😨My mind and my body were frozen,
😨Time seemed to have stopped,
😨I could no longer hear the shouts from the surrounding competitors!
That’s when I heard my 🕵️♀Impostor Syndrome whispered in my ear, "who do you think you are, competing with a 7th Degree Black Belt kata in front of all these Black Belt judges?"
I felt like an 🕵️♀impostor
I felt like a fraud
I felt out of my league
But most of all, I felt 😓intimidated!
As my mind deserted me, I tried to focus so my body could begin the movements that were so familiar to me, but all I could think to do was acknowledge the judges and bow out of the ring.
As soon as I left the ring my mind kicked into gear,
I wanted to run right back in there for a do-over but,
a do-over was not an option! ☹
That experience was over 20 years ago!
There were many tournaments after that, but first, I had to learn to master my beliefs around the Impostor Syndrome.
Today, that would NEVER happen to me because I've learned how to eliminate impostor beliefs BEFORE they have a chance to sabotage my success!
If you’re tired of the Impostor Syndrome sabotaging your success, CLICK HERE and learn how you too can recognize and eliminate The Impostor Syndrome!
Nancy Mueller ~ Life Sensei