Have you ever felt like an imposter in your own life?
Imposter syndrome is when people doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent, often internalised fear of being exposed as a fraud.
I've definitely felt it. Many, many times in my life.
It's another way to make ourselves not enough. To devalue ourselves and what we have to offer. And it's another tool our ego uses to make sure we don't reach our potential.
It might manifest in perfectionism, or people who believe they need to do it all, those who really struggle to ask for help, or those who feel they are never going to know enough - that there's just one more training, one more certification...
Ummm. Yes, I do feel uncomfortably exposed here.
But I also know it's not uncommon. It often affects highly achieving people. CEO's, best selling authors, celebrities and even Supreme Court justices suffer from it. Some examples? Tina Fey, Maya Angelou, Sheryl Sandberg, Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz, Tom Hanks, Seth Godin and Sonia Sotomayor. It makes me feel better that they admit to this. And admitting it is always the first step to overcoming it.
For me, learning to overcome it hasn't been an overnight process. And maybe I'll always have a tiny little voice that I'll need to acknowledge and let go.
But here's what I know helps:
1. Learn to shut down the negative committee in your head. Acknowledge those voices. Let them know you hear them and even accept them. Also let them know they can go. You're the Chair of the committee.
2. Then, do it anyway (even if the voices pop up).
3. Remember to look back to see how far you've come. We often forget that it's a journey and that it's good to look back down the mountain.
4. Believe the positive feedback that comes your way. Also, keep a record of it for the days you feel tired or down or full of self-doubt. Even if you don't look at it, knowing it's there is pretty empowering.
5. Identify your strengths. I often recommend this test by the Gallup Strengths Center. (I'm not getting paid for this link, I just like it and believe it's $USD 20 well spent).
6. Learn to reframe your mistakes. We all make them and get to choose what or how we learn from them.
7. As my mentor always says, "Stop shoulding on yourself." Everytime a thought arises about how you "should" be something or do something differently, acknowledge it and let it go. You don't need to follow those thoughts down the rabbit hole.
Most of all, believe in yourself. I believe in you.
Keep going. Keep moving toward love and the healthy pursuit of happiness,
Love and Blessings,