“Before you can achieve you must believe.”
Nice motivational statement, isn’t it? Except it isn’t true. It’s a load of manure on a spring garden.
Plenty of folks achieve plenty of things without believing in themselves. They do it all the time. They win awards, cruises, get to the front of the line, meet their goals and have people lavish praise on them, tell them how wonderful they are and get tons of public attention. They weigh their perfect weight goal, meet the person of their dreams, make a boatload of money and still…
They don’t believe in themselves.
Furthermore, they don’t like themselves very much. And deep down inside, they don’t understand why you do either. Nor do they get why success keeps happening to them. They think there is a magic success fairy that is waving a magic wand, and that one day, that fairy is going to move on and their luck is going to run out, and you will discover that they are a fraud. They aren’t really anything special after all. It was just the magic fairy, only the muse, lady luck, and now that it’s gone… their run is over and they are exposed.
They live in fear of being found out.
Maybe this isn’t just “Them.”
Maybe this has been you a time or two or more often than you would rather admit. I have. My clients have. Most of us can relate to the feeling of being an impostor at least a time or two in our lives. Even Maya Angelou. Yep.
“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
So if everyone is an impostor, what is it exactly that we think we are pretending to be? Typically, the tricksy thinking is that we are supposed to be perfect…excellent…the very best… or something at whatever we are supposedly pretending at. But since perfect doesn’t exist, how can we pretend to be something that isn’t even real to begin with? We might as well pretend to be Santa Claus.
Confused yet? You should be. Tricksy thinking can do that to you.
Let’s work with something more tangible.
A list to help us deal with stopping Impostor Syndrome and having more REAL Belief in ourselves.
- Let go of perfectionism. It doesn’t exist. Perfectionism is the ultimate impostor.
- Keep your promises to yourself. Build your personal integrity. When you believe you will do what you say will do, your self-trust and confidence will soar.
- Be willing to fail. In fact, challenge yourself to take risks and fail often. It’s how you learn, and the more you learn, the less you feel like an impostor, the more you believe in yourself.
- Take teeny-tiny steps toward progress. Don’t eat elephants. Eat tiny bites. Chew and swallow before even thinking about the next one.
- Identify the negative voices in your head. Shut them down, replace them with positive self-talk.
- Be willing to be wrong. Understand that it’s through being wrong that we learn how to be right.
- Ask lots (and lots and lots) of questions. Or go read or find answers. Get the information you need. Pretending you know what you don’t know is a BIG feeling of Impostor syndrome and shame.
- Celebrate your victories. Even the teeny-tiny ones. Don’t let a single one pass you by. Brag, tell a friend, write it in your journal. At the end of the day, write down- “This is what I am proud of myself for today…”
- Hang out with like-minded people. Find other people who want the same things that you do and that you can be honest and vulnerable with.
- Develop a sense of humor about yourself. Really, this is just not all that serious. Everyone else is too busy worrying about their own Impostor Syndrome to be noticing yours.
- Stop comparing.
- Stop judging.
- Stop hiding.
- Start focusing on loving and not on fear.
That last one, by the way, is the magic bullet. When you are ocean deep in love, you can’t be drowning in fear. And Impostor Syndrome needs fear to survive. Without it, is shrivels up and dies. And without Impostor Syndrome, our ability to believe in ourselves and love ourselves skyrockets.
Focus on love. It’s always the answer.