THE IMPOSTER SYNDROME – THE UGLY TRUTH
Immediately after winning her Oscar, Viola Davis referenced the Imposter Syndrome when she said in an interview, “I still feel like I am going to wake up and everybody is going to see the hack I am.”
Actress Emma Watson, when interviewed in a 2015 interview with Vogue UK, “When I receive recognition for my acting, I feel incredibly uncomfortable. I tend to turn in on myself, I feel like an imposter.”
HOW THE IMPOSTER SYNDROME SHOWS UP
To be an imposter means that a person pretends to be someone else, usually to deceive others. Many indicate they feel like a “fraud”. When the Imposter Syndrome hits you, some of these questions may bubble up for you:
- What makes me think I can make money doing this when there are so many others who are smarter than me?
- Why do they think I am good enough for this job (role, part, assignment….)?
- Aren’t there lots of others who are a lot more talented than me?
- Who am I to believe I am worthy of this promotion (or fill in the blank)?
- Who would pay me for helping them with this issue – I’m no expert?
It hits us when we should be on a natural “high” from some of the most beautiful opportunities that happen to us in our lives. And just when we should be enjoying the opportunity or what we have accomplished, we judge ourselves harshly, question our abilities, and block our joy.
STRATEGIES FOR DEALING WITH THE IMPOSTER SYNDROME
If this has happened to you, it’s great to finally understand that what you are feeling actually has a name, but it is also helpful t to learn some strategies to break through it when it happens.
Here are five issues with accompanying strategies that can help you fight Imposter Syndrome:
- Recognize that you have the talent to take on a particular opportunity. If someone has offered you an opportunity, or if you have selected an opportunity to go after, you and/or others obviously think there is a high probability of success if you take it on.
- STRATEGY: Lean into the probability of being successful in your endeavor by calling up memories of other times when you were faced with uncertainty. Recall the times you were successful in the face of self-doubt. Use the memories of those successes to give you the confidence to move forward.
- Become aware that others around you may be facing the same fears. Just because others don’t show any hesitation, it doesn’t mean they were always fearless.
- STRATEGY: Approach someone with whom you are comfortable and ask them to share examples of when they were fearful but moved forward anyway. You can also find lots of examples in the stories of successful people regarding how they dealt with their own fear.
- Understand that no one makes it on their own without help. When someone “makes it”, they are often singled out for their success. Know there are always people beside or behind them both supporting and propelling them forward.
- STRATEGY: Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Those who care about your success will help willingly. You can also find a mentor to help you navigate an area where you might be feeling less prepared.
- Prepare yourself for the self-doubt that will inevitably show up. No one is immune to self-doubt and questioning themselves, particularly when taking on something new.
- STRATEGY: Think about self-doubt as a necessary step you have to complete. Therefore, when it shows up, you have planned for it and you can almost say “I’ve been waiting for you!”. When it does arrive, sit with it and allow yourself to process it by bombarding yourself with all the evidence you have collected that you can do whatever you set out to do.
- Understand that failure is part of the process. Throughout history, there are tons of examples of brilliant, successful people reacting to failure and using it in a positive way. The difference between achieving a lofty goal or abandoning your dreams is often found in how you react to failure.
- STRATEGY: Treat failure as a learning opportunity. In every failure, there is a lesson of “what not to repeat”. This is very valuable information that you can use to inform your future actions toward achieving your goal. Failures are simply opportunities to hit the pause button, harvest the learning, and move forward with more conviction.
I hope this gives you some insight into battling the Imposter Syndrome. It happens to all of us, even those who are most successful. Don’t be intimidated by it – use it to propel yourself forward!
Let me know what you think about this topic and these strategies OR where you might need some help in the comments below.
P.S. If you want some insights into how well-positioned you are to build anything YOU want into your life, take my complimentary quiz by clicking on the button below. You may qualify for an exploratory session with me!