If you haven’t heard the term “Imposter Syndrome” before, either you’ve managed to escape its grip, or you didn’t have the term to describe the crippling self-doubt that comes with putting yourself out there. So, before we discuss how to overcome Imposter Syndrome – let’s define it.
Imposter Syndrome: The idea that you’re a “fraud” amongst professionals. You haven’t earned the success you’re achieving, or you never will experience any success because you don’t know what you’re doing – and soon enough – everyone else will find that out, too.
I can sense a lot of you are reluctantly nodding your head in familiarity. So let’s all take a cleansing deep breath and know that we are in this together!
In for 1…2…3…4. HOLD HOLD HOLD HOLD DO NOT LET GO OF YOUR BREATH. Out for 1…2…3…4!
That felt good, yes?
Now that our mind is clear and our bodies are relaxed, let’s talk about how we can overcome Imposter Syndrome (or booger syndrome as I sometimes call it).
Everyone Has it!
For reals, mostly everyone has experienced Imposter Syndrome. And if you’ve met someone who has claimed they haven’t (*eye roll*) – I would be scootin’ my way along because they cannot be trusted. Even if you don’t *totally* relate to it (which begs the question why you’re reading this?), you’ve probably brushed past it before. If you’ve ever said something to the tune of:
“Maybe before I do more prep work”
“I would, but I’m not qualified.”
“They are better, so I’ll let them go for it.”
“I’m not _____ enough”
…then you’ve had Imposter Syndrome. Which means EVERYONE has it. Which means if EVERYONE has it, then NOBODY feels confident at all times that they know what they are doing. And that alone should eliminate part your of fear. I think April Ludgate (fictional character, I know) said it best.
“I’m gonna tell you a secret about everyone else’s job: No one knows what they’re doing. Deep down, everyone is just faking it until they figure it out. And you will too, because you are awesome.”
Some people are simply better at masking their self-doubt and making it SEEM like they know what they’re doing. Maybe you struggle with this – and that’s ok. It’s a lovely thing to be vulnerable. However, when you let your self-doubt take you out of the game completely, that’s when there is an issue. Continue to put yourself out there knowing everyone else is just as afraid as you are. The more you do it, the less it will scare you.
Perfect Shouldn’t Be the Goal
If perfect is the goal for your next endeavor – you need to rethink all of this anyway.
My favorite phrase ever, “become friends with ‘good enough'” – or better known as “done is better than perfect” – comes to mind right about now. One of the main reason Imposter Syndrome perks up right around the time you start actually trying is because you are focusing on the idea of *perfection* and how it leaves little to no room for human error.
Which…is a problem. Because we’re humans.
If every goal, job, opportunity, or expression we went for needed to be perfect, then we’d all be better off skipping and staying in bed. Which is EXACTLY what Imposter Syndrome wants you to do. Being perfect at whatever comes next in your life should never, ever be the goal – because it’s impossible. Instead, the goal should be the experience of it all. If you enter into situations focusing on the actual experience of the process, and not the end result – things become a hell of a lot easier. And more fun. And worthwhile.
And the hilarious part about all of this, is when you focus on the actual process of a job/task/opportunity, you end up getting better at it naturally. Without the pressure, fear, and anxiety over performing perfectly, you’re able to zen out in flow. You allow yourself to creatively explore whatever is in front of you and improve on it at your own pace. And you actually have the space you need to craft your talent! So don’t focus on the endgame. That’s Imposter Syndrome’s best case scenario. Instead focus on the process. You’ll be so much happier.
There’s Room For You (And Her!)
Another common mistake I see is assuming that there is a quota for talent. Or better known as operating with a “scarcity mindset” as opposed to an “abundance mindset.”
While you might be wanting to enter into a contest of some sort that only divvies out first prize (you got me there) – typically there is more than enough space in this world/career/niche for more than one person. And each new person brings something different to the table, for a different audience. And while you might be gunning to be the best (see above!) – the “best” is a subjective measure for the most part.
Like, for instance, imagine Beyoncé and Audioslave going head to head for being “the best” at music.
I guarantee you so many people didn’t skip a beat and said DO NOT COME FOR MY QUEEN while others were ready to defend their timeless rock band at all costs.
The point is – the best doesn’t even freaking matter because there’s barely a way to measure it – and each has a unique, enthusiastic, and loyal fanbase. There is room for both. And there’s also room for Drake, Taylor Swift, Lil NasX, and Lizzo (!!! what would we do without Lizzo !!!). Plus the thousands of other artists who’ve had giant successes celebrating their talents.
And no matter WHAT niche you’re striving for, there’s room for you, too.
So throw away that scarcity mentality. That philosophy that’s telling you there are only so many spots available – and they will only go to the best and brightest. That’s more than enough negative energy to make anyone want to turn around and give up forever. Instead, adopt an abundance mentality. Not only is there enough space for you, but there’s enough space for her, too. So you go do your thing, and support her while she does hers!
Is the Alternative Seriously Worth it?
So let’s pretend that your Imposter Syndrome wins. You throw in the towel because you decide you aren’t good enough and eVeRyOnE else is going to find out you sUcK.
Now what? What’s your fallback?
The only logical answer would be to pursue something that you barely care about so you don’t suffer from Imposter Syndrome. And that sounds superbly shitty. So is that really worth it? Is the fear of other people thinking *hmm, maybe she doesn’t know exactly what she’s doing* enough to deter you from living a life of boredom?
I really hope not. You deserve so much more than the debilitating fear of others noticing flaws in your work. And you deserve so much more than assigning yourself away to a life of little challenge or enjoyment. So, please, for your own sake, do not let Imposter Syndrome fool you into sacrificing your creativity or enthusiasm for work. Again, try your best to focus on the process and not the peanut gallery – and you will be so much happier.
This is the real kicker, right here.
As we found out earlier, most people suffer from Imposter Syndrome to some extent. So, that means we are all pretty self-involved and concerned that other people are going to notice how crappy we are and our severe shame will explode onto everything we touch. Which means that barely any of us have the bandwidth to focus on…….you guessed it…….YOU.
That’s right! The silver-lining here is that we are all so anxiously distracted by the fear of our own flaws that we actually have undermined any real consequences of Imposter Syndrome. None of us notice each other.
lololol it’s kind of funny right?
OK FINE it’s sad – sure – but that’s also why the phrase “you are your own worst critic” rings true. It’s also why you are nowhere NEAR as hard on your friends as you are on yourself. Think about it! You would NEVER look at your friend and think, “Ha-ha! Wonder when everyone is going to find our she doesn’t know what she’s doing.” No way. So why would you say that about yourself?
I really don’t know but it’s about time you stop.
People have enough going on with their own lives to really pay attention that closely to yours. Nobody. Cares. So go out there and fuck some shit up! Chances are, no one will blink an eye and you will go on to learn and THRIVE.
I truly hope all of these tidbits arm you in your battle against Imposter Syndrome. But of course, one size does not fit all. Which is why we offer personalized life coaching at a fraction of the cost so you can get the tailored solutions you need to move forward.
Come join us. xo