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Imposter Syndrome

It’s the holidays! Which means the closure of the competition year, nearly every academy holds their end of the year promotions, and many people have high hopes and dreams for the coming year. To nearly everyone, a new colored belt comes with so much enthusiasm and excitement, a whole lot of fear, and for some reason... a small hint of guilt.

There’s a shiny new belt wrapped around your waist, and you can’t help but think that you are a bit under qualified and most definitely not ready. Is this just you? Or is it normal for everyone to feel this way?

What you’re feeling now and might feel at the first weeks or months of your new belt, is called imposter syndrome.

Impostor syndrome is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents or accomplishments and feels as if one were a fraud. No, you are not the only one.

Unless you are a prodigy or phenom that ran through every opponent at your previous level, this promotion might feel like a surprise. If you were awarded your blue, you might still feel like you have white belt tendencies. If you received a purple, you might feel like a blue belt from time to time, and so on and so forth.

The key here is, to trust your teachers. Remember that you chose your academy for a reason. You trusted the professor or coach enough to guide you through this lifestyle, and you liked his/hers methods of teaching and their criteria in this martial art. So you must trust that they have enough experience behind their belt to know when someone is ready for new challenges. Day to day you might not notice the small victories, and the details you have slowly adjusted to your jiu-jitsu that have made a difference. But your professor dedicates his entire career as a martial arts teacher, to notice these small but significant progressions.

Of course, in the end the most important thing as well is to trust yourself. Trust that you have put in the time, sweat, blood and tears. Trust that you made it this far for a reason, and that with each step comes the decision to take another. Trust in your potential, but never too much that you forget to turn it into action. Remember that when it feels scary to jump, that is exactly when you should jump, otherwise you end up staying in the exact same place you were before.

At the end of each belt, close the chapter, and make the next one even that much more memorable.

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