There’s a voice in your head that speaks doubt into your life. It prevents you from showing up in authentic, meaningful ways.
This voice shows up when you get hired for a job that you’re qualified for yet feel undeserving of. This voice shows up in relationships where you’re treated well, almost too well, so you look for ways to escape. This voice shows up when you’re trying to turn your passion into a business but question why anyone would be interested in what you have to offer.
Everyone expects you to deliver, but they’ve been lied to — you’re not as good as they think you are. That’s what you tell yourself.
The pressure causes you to hide your best skills in moments where you’re meant to shine.
Continually perpetuating this cycle of negative self-talk stops your growth. You rob yourself and other people of all you have to offer. People are waiting for you, just as you are without any additional training, speaking skills, or bells and whistles.
You only need to show up.
You’re fighting impostor syndrome. At least 70% of people — including doctors, lawyers, teachers, and your favourite celebrities — fight this.
Psychologist Susan Albers explains impostor syndrome like this: “It’s the feeling that everyone else knows exactly what they’re doing, but you feel lost. You have this fear that the people around you are going to figure out that you don’t know what you’re talking about and expose you as a fraud.”
Impostor syndrome can show up when your family has certain expectations of you. They value success and perfection. You always feel the need to perform.
Impostor syndrome shows up because of cultural expectations. You’re expected to act in a way that reflects your culture but doesn’t necessarily reflect you.
You don’t need to live your life as a martyr. You’re qualified for the life that’s before you.
Here’s how to lean into your sense of knowing, still the voice of impostor syndrome and show up for yourself in a powerful way.
Take notes of your accomplishments.
We lose track of how well we’re doing when we forget the details. Make a list of your wins and why you deserve them. List every skill, personality trait, and positive quality anyone has ever told you about yourself. You didn’t get here by coincidence. You were called. Remind yourself of that.
Stop trying to be the expert. Leverage the expert.
Impostor syndrome causes you to over-perform. If you’re knowledgeable about a specific topic, own that. If not, own that too. You don’t need to be an expert at everything, nor can you be. Releasing the know-it-all mindset can be freeing.
Don’t be afraid to connect with experts, leverage their expertise, and share their knowledge. People will acknowledge this. They will thank you for providing them with solutions to their problems.
Consider all the areas where you excel. We tend to hyper-focus only on our academic accomplishment, but don’t forget your ability to connect with people, creativity, and personal story. There’s an audience for you. People want someone they can relate to. They want to be moved.
Define what success means to you without the acceptance of others.
If you take away the aspect of getting other people’s approval, what does success look like to you?
Maybe it’s being proud of yourself for standing in your authenticity. Maybe it’s getting the presentation done, being the first person in your family to make it this far, or upholding your values.
Success can mean going home and sleeping with a clear conscience at night. It’s knowing that you’ve tried your best, worked with integrity, and are always looking for opportunities to learn more. Take other people out of the equation and recognize what success means to you.
Practice responding to failure in healthy ways.
Don’t wait for failure or disappointment to happen and then spiral out of control. Think about the worst that can happen and develop a toolkit for dealing with potential problems ahead of time. Life is a workshop. Everything you experience is a learning opportunity.
Life helps you build resilience. We gain confidence in doing what we’re afraid of, by putting ourselves out there and allowing ourselves to be seen. We gain confidence by making mistakes, adjusting what we know and getting back up.
Check your ego.
Your ego is the loud voice that says you must be better than everyone else. It’s okay to have ambition, but at the heart of your work, remember that people aren’t beneath you. Your job becomes a lot easier when you see the humanness of others. No matter how much status we accumulate, we fall where there are no acts of service.
Set realistic goals.
Your goals should stretch you but shouldn’t set you up for failure. Are you trying to do too much? Are you trying to reach out of your scope? When you stay within your realm of expertise but have a growth mindset, you don’t fail. Make your goals attainable by starting with small actions, like filling a water bottle as the first step of your workout routine. When you start mastering your goals, your mindset changes. You build boldness and confidence from the momentum.
Stay away from unhealthy competitions.
Focus on what you’re doing. Learn from a few people who you admire. You don’t have to continually expose yourself to people who bring up feelings of low self-worth.
Limit the amount of time you spend viewing other people’s work when it makes you second guess your own. Look for those who inspire you. Seek mentors. You don’t have to do it exactly like them. You don’t need to compete against everyone. Be your best self, do your best work. Perfect your craft in your way. Do you.
Set limits and boundaries.
Limits and boundaries are a road map that lets others know how to treat you. You control your boundaries. This includes boundaries with yourself. Delete accounts of people that cause you to question your worth. Set boundaries around your time. Avoid overextending yourself and promising too much just to prove you’re important. Boundaries are for your peace and mental health.
Determine support systems and lean on them when needed.
We feel like we’re not good enough when we can’t produce results, which has nothing to do with our value. You may feel discouraged when starting a business or implementing a program. This is because you don’t have a strategy, the proper support system, or accountability, not because you don’t have anything to share. It isn’t that you don’t know what you’re doing, but it’s a jumbled mess in your brain. Please recognize the difference. Get support where needed. Get help for the specific area you need then walk boldly into your purpose.
Remember, impostor syndrome affects almost everybody, even highly skilled people. Imagine if your favourite artists, creator, or service provider listened to the voice that told them they weren’t good enough. They wouldn’t be where they are today. Don’t listen to your doubts. Show up as you are. You’re good enough. It’s okay to feel like you’re a fraud, but you’re not a fraud. You’re the real deal. Get support, but keep going. You have too much value to offer.
WRITTEN BYArlene Ambrose