3 Steps to silencing that imposter syndrome
30 September 2015
Ask anyone who has ever known success and they will tell you that at some point of their lives, they would have suffered from the Imposter Syndrome. Self-doubt is a natural phenomenon. It helps us decide whether to run or to fight. But, what if our assessment of our abilities conflict with our actual abilities? Are we then doing ourselves and the world an extreme injustice because we can be offering the world more. We can even be seeking to inspire and to change the lives of others. Am I not hearing that little negative, doubting voice in my head even as I am writing this? “Who do you think you are that you can write something like this? How dare you even think you have anything to offer anyone else? Are you arrogant? Your readers won’t like you anymore!" Oh hush, be quiet. Thank you for being that little voice, the filter that keeps me from jumping off buildings thinking I can fly but hush now, sweet one. It’s time to go to bed.
So hush that little voice now…
Step 1. Acknowledge it. Thank it for being there as the reactive “safety”. Recognise that little negative voice for what it is, a risk assessment measure ensuring that you don’t put yourself in harm’s way. Recognise that this little voice is like a very young child, unsure of what is about to happen and requires the guidance of his or her mother. A mother who has had the experience and wisdom to make a rational assessment of the actual risks AND benefits. My four year old got worried cause I was taking her to the movies. It was dark, we couldn’t see the popcorn in our hands, and we were the only family in the theatre. It was scary for a 4 year old but I knew what was coming. Something good! A Tinkerbell movie! She is going to love it! Everything will be alright, my beautiful girl. Mummy’s right here!
Step 2. Once you have assessed the actual risks and benefits with your thinking, unemotional self, LEVERAGE the strength from what you have achieved before. The imposter syndrome is about falsely attributing your success to “luck” rather than your ability. We ARE lucky in that we are “blessed”, blessed with the ABILITY to recognise and be on the look out for opportunities when they come our way and the COURAGE not to let those opportunities pass us by. So, yes, you are lucky but “luck of success” is a trained skill and you have trained and trained for it! Know your strengths, these are the qualities that will help you acquire more strengths. Everything in nature happens in exponentials, things will only get easier and you can absolutely do whatever it is that you intend to do cause all our intentions come from past actions. Yes, your actions. You are no imposter.
Step 3. Acknowledge your weaknesses like a boss. I know what I’m good at. I’m good at a lot of things, but those things that I don’t feel so sure about? These things are gold. Weaknesses give us something else to work towards. A yoga teacher once told me that the yoga poses you hate the most are exactly the ones your body needs. It is actually very exciting to know your weaknesses. I need them! Knowing your real limits means you can smash them! Who is an imposter now? A pretender would not know their weaknesses cause they are pretending not to have any. I am not pretending to be anything but me and I am glorious with my little voice that keeps me safe, my certainty of what I am good at and my excitement at all the things that I can become better at. There is no stopping a person like this. No amount of self-doubt.
Do you even still feel like an imposter now? Go ahead! Work that self belief muscle until it becomes a reflex. Until then, you are pretending to be something less than who you really are.
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