Conquering the Impostor Syndrome: 6 Steps to New You
Let's talk about Impostor Syndrome. What is it, exactly?
The definition of Impostor syndrome is “a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to see their own accomplishments, dismissing them as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be.”
It’s feeling like an impostor when you’re not.
Over 70% of people have experienced it at one time or another in their lives.
You feel like a fraud and the whole world is going to find out & throw you under the bus and reveal that you’re just faking it.
It's that little voice in your head, that devil on your shoulder that constantly questions your dreams & goals and plants those seeds of doubt in your head.
Impostor syndrome causes you to not take up new responsibilities, projects or step towards your dreams because you’ve already convinced yourself you’re unworthy of achieving or fail at everything. Impostor syndrome is FEAR. It’s doubt. It's lack of confidence.
You DESERVE to achieve your goals and dreams. Mindset before mechanics!
Imperfect action is OK. Have the willingness to take the risks and chances and going out of your comfort zones.
Infants weren't born already knowing how to walk, they had to use their intuition and practice practice practice, and get up each time they fell! Does that make them an impostor because they had to keep learning and didn’t get it right the first time? No way! And even after we have perfected our stride, every now and then, we will fall flat on out face and trip.
You must *imagine what's possible* before you can achieve any of your goals. You must have an overall vision. You HAVE to risk putting yourself out there to get results. You may get your feelings hurt, you may feel uncomfortable, you may have anxiety, and you may fail before seeing success.... but gaining experience is the #1 way to conquering impostor syndrome. And you CAN keep your emotions in check and control your outlook even though the circumstance may be out of your control.
We can still be a badass and ROCK at our careers and have the most amazing group of friends and support system, but let’s face it: we ALL go through this feeling at one time or another. SO let’s nip this in the bud as soon as we start to hear that voice in our head.
1. TAKE A LOOK AT YOUR OWN HABITS
Does working harder than anyone else around you really make you feel less like a fake? Or are you merely trying to compensate for feeling unworthy? Are you trying to achieve a level of notoriety just to prove yourself to a certain group of people? After you answer these questions you may begin to see what makes you feel truly worthy in your own eyes. Instead of dealing with emotion of anxiety, nervousness, anticipation, etc) focus on dealing with the FACTS first. Reading biographies of the people you aspire to be like is a great start (but please do not compare their success to yours... we ALL have to start somewhere). Lean on your previous experiences. Lack of confidence will just hold you back from achieving your goals and dreams. You ARE WORTHY of your dreams. All it takes is a little shift in your mindset and thought process to change your self-talk.
2. FIND BADASS ALLIES
Clarify your own values, and build connections with people who share those values. If you feel like the “odd man out”—perhaps because you’re the youngest, you’re a woman, or you have a different race, ethnicity, or socioeconomic background than your peers—don’t give power to the assumptions others may make about you. Work on owning who you are and what you believe in. Find people who see the real you. Everyone who has accomplished what you want to accomplish, there was always a first time right from the start. They had no credentials, no results, no experience to start off with. They had to start somewhere before it materialized. They had to take a first step too, and it has happened to all of us.
3. INVENTORY YOUR WINS!
Keep a collection of your goals, skills, accomplishments, reviews, feedback, and experiences to inventory your success. Successful people get validation from others, but they most need it from themselves. Keep a file of people saying nice things about you. Every time someone writes that I helped them I take a screenshot and put it in a album labelled "YOU'RE A ROCKSTAR!". When I feel like down or low on ambition, I can go look through the stories from people I have helped, healed, & encouraged. That feedback keeps me putting stuff out there. Collect your wins, testimonials, comments, etc. and then visit them when you’re feeling like a fraud or start to doubt yourself.
4. FIND THE LIFE YOU REALLY WANT
Truly reflect and whether you’re satisfied with your life, your friends, your career, your goals, etc. If you aren’t, then make a change. Sometimes we cannot change the SITUATION right away, but we can change our outlook. Sometimes the need to prove ourselves to others keeps us stuck in a position that’s not conducive to real growth and fulfillment.
Living a life authentic to what YOU truly desire will help you minimize worries & anxieties about not fitting in, no matter how high you move up the social ladder. When people compare themselves to these others, it’s SO EASY to fall into the trap of “my life sucks compared to that person's amazing life”. You might as well not even do anything!
Envy is ignorance. DO NOT COMPARE YOUR BEHIND THE SCENES TO EVERYONE ELSE'S HIGHLIGHT REELS! You aren’t here to live the life of another person. Stop using social media and other people's success & recognition as a way to compare your life to other people's lives. Turn Facebook off & get off Instagram. Turn off the envy. You’re not a fraud, you’re just you. So for goodness sake, STOP COMPARING!
5. STOP APOLOGIZING!
Lisa Kudrow, actress: “You can’t pursue something and be committed to it if you’re apologizing for it at every party. Which I did for a while. I learned you have to surrender to the fact that you are one of too many in a highly competitive field where it is difficult to stand out… for now. Over time, through your work, you will demonstrate who you are and what you bring to the field. Just stay with it and keep working.”
Keep the “s” word to yourself!
The word "sorry" is a crutch that women lean on. It’s a space filler, a hedge, a way to politely ask for something without offending, to appear “soft” while making a demand. Apologizing is one way to make yourself seem more accessible and less threatening or intimidating. Are you TRULY "sorry" for whatever you are apologizing for? Don't feel the need to apologize for speaking up, and don't feel like you have to justify yourself at every moment, either.
6. BRAIN DUMP THE SHITTY THOUGHTS
If you are feeling stuck, feeling like a fraud, feeling the "comparisonitis" creep up, then WRITE IT ALL OUT. Write down every thought wriggling it's way into your head. Do a brain dump! At the end of writing, jot down "It's just impostor syndrome making me feel this way." Keep it in a journal, burn it, throw it away... whatever makes you feel better at the end. Journaling will do wonders for easing anxieties and self-doubt.