Imposter Syndrome

The most recent study I could find said that 70% of people will experience at least one episode of Imposter Syndrome in their lives. I’m sure that number is even higher today, and on top of that the percentage of women who struggle with this is far higher than it is for men.

So here we are ladies, myself included, doubting ourselves and our abilities again.

Imposter Syndrome is basically an extreme form of self-doubt.

Have you ever felt like a fraud?

Like someone’s going to find out you don’t know what you’re talking about?

That you’re not cut out for this?

Those sort of thoughts, mixed with glaring evidence to the contrary is what makes Imposter Syndrome.

And this syndrome runs rampant among female entrepreneurs.

Maybe you’ve felt this way too?

I want to share with you a quote from Maya Angelou, “I have written 11 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.”

It doesn’t matter how much you achieve or accomplish, these thoughts of doubtful fear run through your mind...

The bummer is that these thoughts can easily become a habit. Imposter Syndrome can quickly become your own personal form of self-sabotage. These self-doubting thoughts become your gateway drug to bring you back down to status-quo. Where you’re comfortable and where you feel you belong.

In other words, Imposter syndrome is actually quite damaging to your psyche. It clouds your mind and your judgment. When you’re in this cloud of feeling like a fraud, you’re no longer able to see your accomplishments, to see your success---- so you never feel successful (or rarely do).

When you believe you’re a fraud - you limit yourself, your abilities, your capabilities, you take less risks and don’t speak up. Because of course… you think you’re a fraud! Thoughts swirl in your head like, “Who would want to listen to you?” “You don’t know enough to speak up” “Everyone knows more than you” “You’re missing something that other people know…”

But there’s always a deeper underlying fear to this imposter syndrome.

First, you have a fear that you’ll be found out. Like somehow someone will discover you don’t know what you’re talking about and they’ll call you out.

Of course you wouldn’t want this to happen! No one wants to be humiliated, to feel alone and alienated…

Somehow, if you’re found out - you will be seen as less than. As not enough. As unworthy to talk about these things or be listened to.

THAT’s the deeper fear of Imposter Syndrome.

But let’s instead flip this around…

  • What if - no matter what your knowledge, expertise, experience or talents - you were still worthy to speak your opinions and your mind?

  • What if - you could be wrong and never lose an ounce of your worthiness and value?

  • What if - you stepped up and spoke your mind, and instead of the condescending judgment you fear, you were embraced and everyone appreciated what you had to say?

  • What if - you weren’t missing anything? That you know enough to share and have it still impact somebody else’s life?

  • What if - you focused instead on helping others by sharing what you know, than you focused on what others will think of you?

  • What if - you believed in yourself?

What would that feel like?

If you want to breakthrough Imposter Syndrome… I want you to think about what it would feel like to no longer be chained down by the feelings of being a fraud. What would it feel like if you believed in yourself, all of the time, without fail?

If you’re a journaler, I suggest you take the time to mull over that question and journal out ALL of your thoughts. Don’t hold back. Let your thoughts and feelings flow onto the page.

We’ve been told for so long to fake it until you make it. But the problem is that the “make it” almost never comes… Every entrepreneur I’ve spoken with, even those who have seen great successes that others look up to them and admire, even they...still don’t feel like they’ve “made it”.

So what does that leave us with?

The idea that we’re always faking it.  No matter what successes we accomplish, we still feel as though we’re always faking it and we’re desperately afraid someone’s going to find out and tell us that we don’t deserve what we’ve worked for. We’re not worthy of these accolades… so we rarely (if ever) allow ourselves to enjoy them.

Whew! What a tangled web we weave inside of our minds right??

IF you’re feeling like this is you, please know you’re not alone. Please know that over 70% of humans (HUMANS) throughout the whole world… have felt exactly like this. You’re not a special in your fraudful feelings. So why not change them?

Be the difference. Inspire someone because you believe in yourself and you show that!

If you haven’t already, listen to my last episode, “The Fear of Outshining” because here we are again, talking about the same type of thing.

When you believe in yourself, you allow others to believe in themselves.

You can be part of the ripple effect that says, NO I refuse to sink into this imposter syndrome and believe these lies, because when you do that, you allow others to do the same for themselves. You become the example of what it means to breakthrough that imposter feeling.

You are the key that unlocks your own fraudulent thoughts. You have the power to change them. You have the ability to change the story. Take it.

This is journey, not a sprint. So start with something simple and ask yourself each day…

“Does this thought help or hinder me?”

You’ve got to start getting comfortable with searching your own thoughts and uncovering the hidden messages you hear on a daily basis. What are the doubts running across your mind? What words are being said?

The more you can pinpoint these directly, the easier it will be for you to ask that thought directly, “are you helpful or hindering my progress?”

Personally, I use a practice of self-forgiveness (because I personally blame myself for a lot of things…)

So I say, “I forgive that thought and choose to see love instead of fear.”

I got that little beauty from Gabby Bernstein’s book “May Cause Miracles” which I HIGHLY recommend as you move through this process of breaking apart your own imposter syndrome.

Doubting yourself is your own choice of torture. It’s a way to bring yourself back down when you feel you’re getting a little high for comfort… It’s hard to move beyond your own status quo, but I promise you can do it. 2 steps forward, 1 step back.

"It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop." - Confucius

Every time imposter syndrome strikes and you pause to ask the question “do these thoughts help or hinder me?” you’ve taken another step toward breaking through.

Comment below, I’d love to hear from you and get a conversation started!