Imposter Syndrome can be a huge thing for many people. In fact, somewhere between 9% to 82% of ALL people experience feeling like an imposter or fraud at some point during their lives. (These numbers vary greatly, depending on the types of people participating in the scientific studies.) So that is AT LEAST 1 in 10 people!
What the heck is that… Imposter Syndrome? Is that an actual thing? Is it contagious?
Yup, it is an actual thing but it’s not a disease, ailment or disorder. So no worries. (And it certainly doesn’t spread via air!)
According to Wikipedia, Imposter Syndrome: “is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their skills, talents, or accomplishments and has a persistent internalised fear of being exposed as a “fraud“.
Can you relate?
If so: let’s dig in a little deeper, shall we?
Feeling like a Complete Fraud: Sharing My Story
For the longest time of my working life, I’ve certainly felt like a fraud. And it had nothing to do with not having the educational background or equipment…
I remember that as soon as I graduated from University, it felt like the world was sort of… opening up for me. I was sooo happy and excited to jump right in. To finally start working as a psychologist and help as many people as I possibly could.
Unfortunately, as soon as I actually started working as a psychologist, this happiness and excitement made way for all kinds of fears though.
My introverted nature, combined with my perfectionism and low self esteem back then caused me to question my own every move. I remember finding it so hard to focus on what my clients were telling me. And then having to shift my attention from their story, to then process what they just said and give them the right answers! Give them empathetic reactions and proper advice.
When you’re just starting out in your profession, there’s so so many things to learn, right?
Do you remember what that was like for you, when you just graduated and started out?
After working as a psychologist for over 5 years and having talked to at least hundreds of clients with all kinds of disorders and issues, I still felt this way. I still felt like I didn’t know enough, wasn’t good enough. That at any moment, a client could walk into my office and call me out on my lack of skills and level of ‘professionality’.
I was ADDICTED to courses, trainings, more education. Sure, partly because I sincerely love to learn. BUT I have to admit that I took a lot of extra training that I didn’t really need, because I felt insecure about my level of knowledge. I was certainly skilled at ‘Procrasti-learning’.
After like 7 or 8 years in the field, I finally felt more comfortable and skilled. But as soon as I made the decision to start out in the ONLINE world, Imposter Syndrome got the best of me again!!
“Are people really going to be interested in what I had to say in a Facebook live?“
“What if there’s someone in the audience who has more knowledge than me, and calls me out on it?“
“How about if I don’t have the answers to the questions of my audience? And I have to tell them that I don’t know? What will they think of me?“
Imposter Syndrome and Fear of Visibility
Imposter Syndrome really caused a big part of my fear of visibility.
I was scared to put myself out there, because I didn’t believe in myself. It didn’t have to do with my audience, with those other people out there. It had everything to do with me!
As soon as I became aware of this, things started to shift for me…
Imposter Syndrome vs. ‘Normal’ Self-doubt
It is very NORMAL for a young professional to have self-doubt. It is only natural for people who are just starting out to have fears and that they might wonder whether they can pull it off or not.
There’s a BIG difference though, when it comes to people like you and me, who ARE experienced already. Because we DO have either life or professional experience and baggage enough to actually pull it off! We have all the knowledge and the skills.
So then, why do we keep doubting ourselves?
It just doesn’t make any sense, right?
You have the work experience.
There’s the education and diplomas in the back of your pocket.
You also have a good-working brain…
So then why still doubt yourself?
Well… this might have to do with bad experiences in the past.
You might’ve experienced bullying.
Rejection in any shape or form.
If you can relate to any of those, then chances are that you’ve experienced feelings of shame and emotional pain during those times in the past. And that shame-game may in turn have led to you not daring to show up in your business. Or simply feeling like a complete fraud or imposter – like no one will ever believe you when you speak your truth.
A Short Guide: Bust Your Imposter!
Try these steps, to bust your Imposter and kick him/her to the curb for once and for all:
Step 1 – Raise Your Awareness
Know that your thoughts of ‘I’m not good enough, I need more qualifications and more work experience’ all belong to something that has a name: 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐈𝐦𝐩𝐨𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐒𝐲𝐧𝐝𝐫𝐨𝐦𝐞. And that up to 70% of all people experience these kinds of thoughts and feelings from time to time. It’s normal!
Step 2 – Start Re-scripting
Start re-scripting such as: ‘Asking for help is wrong’, ‘I am bothering people with my questions’ and ‘I need to know everything within my field of expertise’. These thoughts are not helping you AT ALL! (All they give you is a feeling of shame, right?)
Step 3 – Don’t forget the Important Stuff
Perfectionists generally care deeply for the quality of their work. Which is a wonderful thing! Strive for excellence, but don’t forget those routine tasks that are really important as well (because these oftentimes are overlooked by perfectionists OR they tend to get done perfectly as well, which makes work really slow). And forgive yourself for the mess-ups.
Step 4 – It’s not necessarily true…
Know that we tend to tell ourselves stories as human beings. Every. Single. Day. The fact that we tell ourselves the same effin’ stories every day, doesn’t suddenly make them more true though!!
Step 5 – Visualise Your Success
What does your success in your business and life look like?
How and what are you doing, when you’ve reached that goal?
What does your life look like?
How do you feel?
Connect with that feeling on a daily basis.
Step 6 – Reinforce and Reward
Learn to pat yourself on the back for something you did, instead of searching for external validation. Rewarding yourself is so important, because it goes against everything that your Imposter is telling you!
Step 7 – Get Over Yourself
Henry Ford once said: ‘Failure is only the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.‘ Fail, (ugly) cry, curl up in fetal position, journal about it, meditate on it, make space for your feelings and then let it all go. Get over yourself, lady! You’re gonna mess up many times in business – it’s part of the deal and you’re gonna learn a lot from it! Remember Dumbledore’s Army practicing their Patronuses? Yea… keep trying.
This is not a Sprint-type of solution… Unfortunately, there is no quick fix when it comes to busting your Imposter Syndrome: just practice, practice, practice!!
And remember: there’s only one YOU, so how can you even BE afraid if you’re just being you?!
What steps are you taking to bust your Imposter? Share it in the comments!
With love, xo,
P.S. If you need any help with busting your Imposter and getting over your fear of visibility: I still have 3 spots left for November for a free 1-hour Power Call! We will create a plan together, to overcome these things. So how about it?! >>> Grab your spot right here <<<