“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’re going to find me out.’”
— Maya Angelou
Do you ever wish you could express yourself with unabashed confidence? Maybe you hold yourself back because you worry what people might think about you or your message. Or maybe you believe that the others at the table have somehow earned a bigger right to be there than you have.
If any of this rings true, you’re familiar with a phenomenon called Imposter Syndrome. It’s defined by Psychology Today as:
“A psychological pattern where people doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent, often internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud.”
It’s that voice that strikes when you’re on the brink of doing something new and exciting – starting a new role, facing a transition or putting a big idea out into the world.
The voice that says, “You must’ve just gotten lucky” or “You’re not actually cut out for this, but somehow you’ve fooled everyone”.
Why Imposter Syndrome strikes
When your job success depends on your ability to express yourself, to take chances, and create something new (work that feels risky and vulnerable) Imposter Syndrome is bound to come up often.
We believe that as we rise through the ranks and accomplish more, our confidence will follow and we’ll feel less like an imposter. But this isn’t true.
I know it firsthand and it comes up frequently in my coaching practice. My clients have outward measures of success –businesses; books and creations; respect from their peers; strong relationships. But while they may appear to the outside eye as beacons of success and self-confidence, they don’t always feel this way on the inside.
Now, some good news:
– It’s possible to recognize your authority and step into your power
– You can develop genuine self-confidence
– You can get clear information and practical tools to help you on your confidence quest. In fact, I’m dedicating the next few months to sharing this exact content with you!
– Today, we start with 3 facts about Imposter Syndrome that are an absolute must for you to understand in order to loosen its grip.
Imposter Syndrome is not just part of your personality or a belief system you’re stuck with for life!
There are techniques you can learn to rewire your brain and reframe your experiences so that you feel and exude more genuine self confidence (and good news: I’ll be sharing my favourite ones with you this spring!).
Living in a state of chronic self-doubt comes at a high cost.
Just consider the emotional, mental, and physical toll that anxiety plays in your everyday life.
Imposter Syndrome also leads to self-sabotage, stalling on your goals, procrastinating and playing small. This means mega opportunity loss. Think about the compound effect that a limited perception of self could have over the span of your career. (Makes you cringe a little, doesn’t it?!)
So, please don’t resign yourself to believing that feeling like a fraud is your lot in life to contend with and white-knuckle your way through.
It’s very worth your while to get real about how Imposter Syndrome is affecting you, and open yourself up to making changes in order to loosen its hold.
2. Achieving more isn’t always the answer
We’re taught to believe that external accomplishments will lead to more confidence. But this isn’t true.
And I know what you’re thinking: “Yeah, yeah, sure, Sarah, but I KNOW I’ll feel better once I get that new client / promotion / more money / new relationship / look more beautiful / buy more beautiful stuff…etc., etc.”
The thing is, external validation is fun, but it’s fleeting – unless it’s matched with a belief in your worth and ability to face challenges successfully.
If you’re already doubting your abilities, getting a promotion or landing a bigger opportunity can actually leave you feeling worse. This is because your pre-existing thoughts about yourself don’t magically change just because your external life shuffles. Instead, being offered a new, bigger opportunity may leave you feeling less secure and like even more of a fraud.
3. Just because you think something often, doesn’t make it true
An Imposter thought is a thought. A mere thought. It’s not a Noble Truth. I mean, we have up to 80,000 thoughts every day! 80,000!!! With those numbers they can’t all be true, can they…? 🤔
The answer is NO. Not all thoughts are true.
Michael Balchan, a Harvard-trained behavioural economist and psychologist, compares the brain’s thought-patterns, to paths between houses: if you walk frequently between any two houses, a path begins to form. The more often you take the walk, the more defined the path becomes.
The fact is, the more often we practice thinking any one random thought (whatever it may be), the more familiar the thought will become and the “truer” it will feel.
Do you get where I’m going with this? The more often you think you’re not talented/ smart/ good enough, the more “real” this thought will seem to you.
The flip side of this is you can train your brain to think more empowering thoughts about yourself, which, in time, will also begin to feel like the truth.
What do you think?
What ideas from the article resonated with you the most? Does Imposter Syndrome play a role in your life, and do you have any insights to share? Please leave a comment below – I’d love to hear from you!
Starting next week, don’t miss out on my upcoming series with tools to help you recognize your authority and step into your power. If you’re not on it already, sign up for my newsletter here and never miss an article.
Wishing you confidence and clarity to step out, share your message with the world, and live the life you dream of!