My coach challenged me to 300 words maximum for my blogs going forward! I managed an edited version for social media, which is just a tad over that, but I wanted to expand it a little for you guys… don’t tell him!
Imposter syndrome or imposterism is a huge subject and my target here is to keep it succinct – so we are going to zoom right in to how to make a start when you are struggling with these feelings.
Most of us will experience it at some point in our lives, it’s a crippling pattern of not feeling good enough or worthy enough. We find it almost impossible to acknowledge our own skills and strengths. We compare ourselves to those around us and believe that everyone else has got it all figured out and that we are lacking; the fear that they will soon notice this and “out” us as a fraud will play on our minds to the point of freezing us into inaction.
To add insult to injury, when we do achieve something, when we are successful- even when this is recognised and applauded by those same individuals who seem to know and have it all, we bat it off, we consider ourselves just lucky and reject the notion that perhaps we deserve the pat on the back.
I know the feelings well. I’ve worked in procurement all my career – I’ve managed, trained, coached, and mentored people how to buy and buy well. And yet when recently I have been planning how to bring this skill set into my service offering, I noticed increasing imposter feelings. What have I got to offer? Do I actually know what I am doing? It’s frightening and deeply frustrating. And those feelings are not the truth. They are not fact.
You think, "Why would anyone want to see me again in a movie? And I don't know how to act anyway, so why am I doing this?" Meryl Streep.
There are many techniques to manage these feelings, here are just three to get you out the blocks:
Keep a success diary. It’s a quiet and private way to help build up your confidence. Make a record of things that have gone well and your input. Write down compliments and thank yous you have received about your work. On the days when you can’t see your value, look back on what you have already achieved.
Talk about it. Eek – I know! But 7 in 10 people will be in the same boat as you. Really accepting it’s not just you, is powerful. Find a mentor at work, perhaps your manager or someone from another department - target someone more senior in role than yourself: ask for feedback, share your concerns. Saying something out loud and having a sounding board is incredibly valuable.
Choose a challenge. Volunteer yourself for a project at work – say yes to stretching yourself. Perfection is not real and not expected, so put yourself in a position to succeed. It’s fantastic for self-confidence, for side lining your inner critics and showing them whose boss; and it’s a lesson in getting familiar with good enough. Sure, its scary - all the fun stuff is!
There will always be times when we doubt ourselves, that's human, but these feelings do not have to dominate our lives. Practice these mechanisms and you retrain your brain in more helpful and positive thought patterns. The aim is always for greater self awareness so that you can observe and call yourself out when you are stuck in an unhelpful story loop, as opposed to reality and fact.
If you are interested in how I can work with you around imposter syndrome and more, you can speak to me directly, you can book a free initial session with me here
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602 words... if you were wondering ... 🤪