It’s a term used to describe the psychological phenomenon of intense feelings of self-doubt to the extent where people feel like a fraud, either in their personal or professional lives, though it’s most frequently the latter.
— Olivia Petter, The Independent
Apparently 70% of people deal with imposter syndrome at some point in their lives.
It’s something I’ve been self-diagnosed with. The symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Never feeling like you’re “ready”
- Bouts of comparisonitis
- Overthinking to the point of inaction
- Feeling like you need to be an expert to pursue your desires
- Not being able to ask for help, because you’re supposed to be an expert
- Paralyzing perfectionism
Imposter syndrome is a deadly killer of your dreams.
I’m studying to be a life coach through the JRNI program (Team JRNI). During the first class, we analyzed ourselves. Where we currently were in our lives, where we want to go, and what roadblocks were standing in our way.
My roadblock was imposter syndrome.
It took me 6 months of looking at JRNI’s website on a weekly basis before I signed up. My imposter syndrome was in full effect, and I’d berate myself about all the reasons I wasn’t qualified and shouldn’t sign up. Even though the course was going to teach me how to be more qualified within the self-help and wellness space.
Imposter syndrome affects our confidence. It can destroy the beliefs we have about our abilities and keep us paralyzed in the pursuits of our dreams.
It shows up in many forms to remind you you’re not good enough or deserving enough. It is standing in the way of your success.
I don’t believe you can eliminate a thought pattern completely. Rather, you can evolve your thoughts and not let them control your actions.
When imposter syndrome arises within us, because it will, how can we redirect it?
Also, breathe easy. Michelle Obama, Tom Hanks and Lady Gaga all suffer from this dream killing disease too…. Celebrities, they’re just like us!
Problem: You don’t feel “ready”, or like you’re an expert.
You’re never going to feel ready. You have to start before you’re ready.
You’re never going to feel ready. You will never feel you’ve “arrived” at this state of readiness.
Start with what you have. You can always take another course, get another certification, or read another book. You’ll continue ingesting information and learning the rest of your life.
You will not have all the information you need to grow a seven-figure business today. But trust that you have ENOUGH to start. You KNOW enough to start. You will not feel like an expert, but do you feel qualified, ENOUGH?
Problem: You over collect information to the point of inaction
I have been guilty of this my entire life.
I scour every book, course, and webinar. And then I have all this information filling my brain… and I still have DONE nothing with it.
Because I didn’t need all of it to begin my journey. It bogged me down because I was incapable of implementing it all from the start. I had to re-file some of it in my brain in a “Use This Later” folder.
I had to backtrack to the basics of what I had learned just so I could begin at square one, exactly where I belonged.
Having a starting point allows you to define actions for yourself. It helps you gain more information about where you’re currently at and what you need to do next. Instead of drowning in information that isn’t even applicable.
Ask yourself, what do I gain by NOT doing this…. For instance, when I finally signed up for the JRNI course I had that revelation… what am I gaining by not doing this?? Which was nothing. I was not gaining anything and hurting myself because it’s something I desperately wanted to do. If I had signed up when I first had the inclination to, I would’ve already graduated the program…
What are you gaining by not starting that blog? Or that business? Or asking for a raise?
Problem: You’re suffering from comparisonitis
Everyone started somewhere.
Tony robbins started somewhere. Gabrielle Bernstein started somewhere. Oprah, Bill Gates, Kanye West, and YOU all started somewhere.
Kanye West now drives war tanks around his ranch in Wyoming while sipping Veuve Clicquot while writing songs about God and rage tweeting. But at one point he was crying into a fettuccine Alfredo lean cuisine trying to start his Wordpress blog. Or maybe that was me.
Every one of these people had to decide they were gaining more from putting themselves out there than hiding.
The cost of them hiding their talents and their passions was greater than their fear of failure. Or them not thinking that they’re good enough.
You are where you are, and you have what you have. You will keep gaining knowledge and experience, you will keep moving forward.
It’s easy to scroll through Instagram, or even read a post on Medium about how someone made $7,000 a month using the site while running a business, raising a family, while teaching themselves how to play the flute.
You feel like a failure and so very far from that being your reality.
But every writer on this platform started with zero followers. They started with a first story. They sat down for their first writing session and felt panicked as they hit publish.
Ask yourself why not you… why aren’t you deserving of success? Why shouldn’t your voice be heard? Maybe the world needs it just as much as you need it.
Problem: You’re a perfectionist — if you get 99% of it right, you’re still a failure
Don’t focus on your failures, focus on what’s working and getting meaningful results.
You will fail, it’s inevitable. You will face loads of rejection.
Going back to Mr. Kanye…. There are millions of people who hate his music or even hate him. And they’re willing to spew comments all over the internet completely obliterating his talents, success and character. But there are also millions of people who really like his music and maybe even him.
Not everyone’s going to like you. Not everyone is supposed to.
You can never get 99% of it right. There will be times you will stumble through life, and you’ll definitely stumble through starting a business.
Be more afraid of perfectionism paralysis than a few stumbles. You will be in pain, but you’ll be moving forward.
Problem: You feel you should know all the solutions on your own
You feel if you have to ask for help; you don’t deserve to be where you’re at.
Think about the person you deem wildly successful. They didn’t do it alone. Think of another successful person…. they didn’t do it alone either.
They delegate tasks and hire people who are better than them at doing certain things.
We ask for opinions and take polls on what our customers may want or need because we’re not meant to know everything. We’re not meant to be experts in every single thing.
Also, it’s not about us! It’s about who we’re trying to serve, asking them for help is necessary. We all have shit we need help on, get over yourself and ask.
I do this all the time. Where I’ll suffer for hours trying to make something work, and if I just asked it might’ve gotten handled within minutes.
Your time and energy are valuable. Don’t keep running yourself into the same wall when someone else will gladly hold open a door for you.
“You can also reframe your thoughts. The only difference between someone who experiences impostor syndrome and someone who does not is how they respond to challenges. People who don’t feel like impostors are no more intelligent or competent or capable than the rest of us. It’s very good news, because it means we just have to learn to think like non-impostors.”
— Valerie Young, Imposter syndrome expert
Imposter syndrome will never go away. So, it’s up to you to learn a healthy way to engage with it and strengthen your thoughts.
Ask yourself what you’re gaining from staying inactive. Are your thoughts helping you move forward? Or hindering you?
Remove this roadblock to the best of your ability. Your dreams depend on it.
More in personal development…
The Best Thing for Your Productivity? Get Uncomfortable.
I’m so uncomfortable and I’m making shit happen.
How Learning to Visualize “Pretty Good” Has Made My Life Great
The most important thing I learned from Ayodeji Awosika’s book Real Help
I’d love to know about your trials, tribulations and triumphs! Hit me up at firstname.lastname@example.org or find me at www.yougotyou.co!