Dismantling Impostor Syndrome
Updated: Apr 1, 2020
You are enough.
"Even Jesus' brothers didn't believe in him. Since they didn't believe, they tried to get him to perform. They said, 'Show the world who you really are.' He refused to be inauthentic.
Anytime you have disbelief in your heart, it will cause you to try to perform, to prove something that you don't really believe."
Pastor Steve Furtick, Elevation Church , referencing John 7:5
Many of us secretly feel like we are a fraud. We secretly feel like we are not worthy of praise. We secretly feel like we have so much less to offer than what people expect from us. In fact, these feelings lead to low self esteem and cause us to constantly seek approval, be a "superwoman" or a hard-core perfectionist. All are unhealthy and lead to high stress.
We don't want to be "found out," and due to fear we may push people away, perform at unsustainable levels and ultimately fail in ways that could have been avoided. We overcompensate and strive to be something we are not for the fear of others seeing us as "less than" we are. This unhealthy performance cycle is all too common. So, how do we break it! How do we begin to release the fear and show up more authentically.
Overcoming "Impostor Syndrome" begins with recognizing you have chronic self-doubt. It's okay to be afraid of making mistakes, worried about what others think, nervous that you may not have "the right answer." But, don't let it prevent you from greater success. As I coach, I find many women (including myself) have "self-blocks." It's natural. Everyone does it. We anticipate outcomes that are not predetermined. We assume the worst case - not allowing for alternative results or options. The difficulty arises when we hold so tight to those beliefs that we do not allow other possibilities in or consider what positive results may occur. How I work through it and you can too is to talk about it.
you aren't alone
Talk to someone you trust. It's important to open up and share your fears with a trusted friend, mentor or colleague. Sometimes just saying it out loud begins to peel back the layers and release the fears. You aren't alone. Many people - men and women - have felt what you are feeling.
shift your perspective
Explore what you can learn from mistakes and where your fear is really coming from. Consider what fear really is.
This clip from After Earth and the following video of Will Smith sharing his perspective of "fear" are invaluable lessons to consider. "Fear is not real. The only place that fear can exist is in our thoughts of the future. It is a product of our imagination, causing us to fear things that do not at present and may not ever exist. That is near insanity. Do not misunderstand me danger is very real but fear is a choice. We are all telling ourselves a story."
You Are Enough
Creating awareness, having the courage to share your fears and learning how your fears are limiting you takes time, but think of the possibilities. You are stronger than you know, wiser than you realize and resourceful when others may be limited. The greatest gifts you can give yourself are to live in your truth, focus on how you feel - not how you think others feel about you - and give yourself grace. Breathe...no really...breathe in and inhale your strength. Exhale your fears. Let go of the act. You are enough.