Welcome to this week’s Cynspiration personal coaching session. Today we are going to tackle a problem that affects many people, yes, even ‘high flyers’ – Imposter Syndrome!
“The exaggerated esteem in which my lifework is held makes me feel very ill at ease. I feel compelled to think of myself as an involuntary swindler.” ~ Albert Einstein
Have you ever felt that you don’t belong? That you don’t actually deserve your job and your accomplishments?
Welcome to the club! Over 70% of people report feeling like a fraud in their lives, even a genius like Albert Einstein! It’s a mind-trap!
Let’s get that clear! It sits there waiting to ambush you and keeps you playing small. In business and in society, the problems we face require the best people to step up. But many hold back because they feel that luck rather than ability lies behind their successes. They dread that sooner or later, some person or event will expose them for the fraud that deep down they believe themselves to be.
Far from being a realistic self-assessment, the Impostor Syndrome mind-trap prevents people from believing in themselves.
Imposter Syndrome Unmasked
We all struggle with self-confidence at times, but Imposter Syndrome is an inner narrative playing over and over on a constant loop. It can limit our courage to go after new opportunities, explore potential areas of interest or put ourselves out there in a meaningful way. So what are the symptoms of Imposter Syndrome? Let’s expose those tricky thoughts that keep us stuck.
Bookmarked play points for reference
- Procrastination [02:38]
- Giving into Fear [03.05]
- Addictions [03:13]
- Conflict [03:20]
- Negative Self Talk [03:49]
“I have written eleven books, but each time I think, Uh Oh, they’re going to find out now. I’ve run a game on everybody, and they are going to find me out now!” ~ Maya Angelou
Why do we feel this way, and why has it been so difficult to shake off?
The answers lie in thought patterns that we have inherited, feelings of insecurity, sometimes it is environmental. It particularly affects women. Despite outstanding academic and professional accomplishments, women such as Michelle Obama and Maya Angelou have spoken out about how they are affected.
Women have sex-role societal expectations thrust upon them early on and feel the need to be perfect and please people and often feel they fall short of what they are ‘supposed to be’.
Imagine how much talent the world is missing out on because of this pernicious problem? How much leadership is being undermined? How many people are missing out on achieving their true potential? There is some good news, though.
Free to Be You
This toxic cocktail of intense self-doubt doesn’t have to be a life sentence.
So how do we reframe those thoughts and use them constructively to springboard us into a more mindful, helpful, less stressful way of living and being? Let me share.
- Recognise It [09:37]
- Acknowledge Your Feelings [10:01]
- Cognitive Restructuring [10:40]
- Understand You Are Not Alone [11:43]
- Get to Know Your Strengths and Weaknesses [12:25]
- Overcome Perfectionism [13:03]
- Own Your Successes [14:02]
“You might never fail on the scale I did, but some failure in life is inevitable. It is impossible to live without failing at something unless you live so cautiously that you might as well not have lived at all – in which case, you fail by default.” ~ JK Rowling
Don’t Hide Your Light Under A Bushel!
Perfectionism and fear of failure underpin daily life for people with Imposter Syndrome but let’s put it into perspective. It is entirely normal to feel nervous the night before a presentation. Or to have a little wobble when you find yourself in an unfamiliar place in life.
Mistakes and failures are a normal part of life that serves as a learning curve. Even if you do stumble, remind yourself that failure is just a bruise, not a tattoo that you must wear forever. Failure builds resilience and resilience builds the courage to reach higher. Perfect does not exist.
Remember that if you are feeling like an impostor, it means you have some degree of success in your life that you are attributing to luck. From now on learn how to take a compliment, know that you are a competent person, embrace your accomplishments and draw strength and grace from all the things you ARE.
Step into your success and enjoy it, no matter how big or small. You deserve it!
Words of Wisdom – Reflect upon some of the key messages from this week’s episode
You learn so much when you fail!
Feeling like a fraud can become a self-fulfilling pattern.
Feelings are NOT reality!
If you feel like a fraud, then you are competent.
Reach out and talk to people that you trust, many of your colleagues and friends will relate to how you feel.