I’m sure you’ve heard of it … the imposter syndrome or imposter phenomenon, or to take it one step further, you have experienced this very feeling.
This is not gender specific, many women and men I’ve worked with or spoken with have experienced imposter syndrome. It’s the feeling of being a fraud, and to add another layer, feeling as though you are going to be found out.
My thinking about this very subject came about after speaking with a client recently where she suggested she felt like a fraud because she was new in business and was not sure how many people thought of her as an expert in her field, earning enough money, and mastering her skills in a way she could coach others knowing she was the best person for the job.
A friend suggested recently he felt like a fraud after he gave a presentation to a group of people who he believed were clearly earning more income than he was at the time.
And another conversation I had in the last few days was all about this syndrome when my client was working on some pricing, and not feeling worthy of asking for a higher payment for her services.
I too experienced feeling like a fraud when I started out in business. I felt that no one would listen to me or pay me because I was new to running my own business and new to asking for payments. I felt as though people would find out that I was not the real deal!!
I soon came to the conclusion that I was worth it. Firstly I stopped comparing myself to others and also realised that I brought to my business a lifetime of skills and qualifications. Of course I was worth it. And no I was not an imposter, or fraud.
Seth Godin wrote in The Icarus Deception that after a dozen best sellers he still feels like a fraud all the time. Interesting!!
Some of the things I’ve learnt and know about helping you to overcome the Imposter Syndrome.
- Stop comparing yourself to others
While you are comparing yourself to others you are going to focus on what you believe to be your shortcomings. The truth is most of the time you cannot be sure you are even comparing apples with apples. You are not the other person/people, and you have not lived in their shoes. You don’t know their life or feelings or reasoning for doing anything they do. So STOP! Comparing yourself to others in a sure fire way of stopping yourself in your tracks.
- Make a list of all you have achieved in your life
You may just be very surprised!! Celebrate these successes and celebrate them often.
- Read the testimonials others have written about you
And I can hear you now telling yourself … they only said that to be nice. They are just saying that to appease me. They don’t really mean it. Well, turn that language around, because it is not helping you at all. In fact it will hold you back even more. Believe your testimonials, there is not reason to believe otherwise.
- Fake it till you make it
Yes it really does work. Smile. Really smile. Faking it doesn’t necessarily mean you are a fraud. Stand tall. Get the endorphins running through your body and you will feel happy and on top of the world. Then go and do your thing without thinking any negative thoughts.
- Make a list of 100 reasons why you are worthy
If you cannot think of anything to get you started, write … I am going to write 100 reasons why I am not an imposter, why I am worthy. Then keep writing anything that comes to mind. Keep writing without stopping. Give yourself plenty of time. Sit is a comfortable place and go for it.
A mentor I worked with some time ago used to write 500 reasons or 1000 reasons why … whenever he was stuck. The same works for any reason at all where you are not moving forward how you would like to.
Dr. John Demartini speaks of this also. When you get to about 80 reason why … there will be a shift in your thinking. Give it a go.
- Focus on giving
When you focus on giving you are not thinking of yourself. Whether it is when you are speaking, working with your clients, writing posts on social media, videoing, writing, make it all about your audience and not about you. Practice gratitude every day and this will also change your life. Be grateful for all areas of your life and feel the shift to loving yourself and growing from each experience you have.
- Take action
This is similar to #6. If you are taking action, you are focusing on what you are doing and giving rather than being focused on yourself and what you believe to be your inadequacies. Your whole state changes when you take action and you will achieve more rather than second-guessing and doubting yourself.
From all that I know, have experienced (yes I have experienced this imposter syndrome!!) and all I have read, the imposter syndrome will not survive while you are taking action. It may creep back in from time to time – that’s when you keep taking action.
Something else to think of … when I am working with my clients around speaking, running events, or sharing stories, I remind them that everyone starts somewhere. You can do the same. Going back to #1 you may be comparing yourself to someone who has years of experience and you may be starting out.
And … you are your point of difference. Do things your way and go for it.
Learn and grow and share more of what you have to give to others so they may live a better life or perhaps they will share what you have given them. That’s the ripple effect you can have
Be prepared to step up and do more. Let go of the feelings of being a fraud and get out and do what you know in your heart you really want to do.
Please leave a comment below about your experiences … good or not so good. Share your stories to support others.