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Imposter Syndrome

Apr 20, 2021

If you’ve ever experienced self-doubt, fear of failure, negative self-talk, or felt alone and disconnected. If you are prone to self sabotage or low self confidence, then you’ll find this will provide you the answers to why you’re doing it and how to stop.

Why is it important?

Too many successful, brilliant, and smart people hold themselves back from achieving greater success in their life because of the fears, negative thoughts, and limiting beliefs that they have running repeatedly in their heads.

They stop themselves from speaking up, standing out and sharing their ideas because they simply don’t believe in themselves.

How is this relevant?

This is for anyone who experiences feeling out of your depth, like a fraud, not good enough, that there’s nothing special about you, low self confidence, anxious, worried, fear failure, and undeserving of your success.

Imposter Syndrome can be used as fuel for your success to improve your drive to create, innovate, produce, and enjoy your work.

When left unchecked Impostor Syndrome has led to negative behaviours such as not sleeping, losing your temper quickly, self doubt, questioning your knowledge, skills and ability.

In worse cases, imposter syndrome leads to anxiety, depression, heart attack and other severe health concerns.

Self-declared impostors fear that eventually some significant person will discover that they are indeed intellectual impostors!

Imposter Syndrome Defined:

A psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud.

Imposter Syndrome is also known as:

  1. Imposter Phenomenon
  2. Imposter Experience
  3. Inferiority Complex

What do the experts have to say?

Dr. Pauline Rose Clance and Dr. Suzanne Imes at Georgia State University first identified the Imposter Phenomenon in the early 1970’s when they were working with high achieving women. They published a paper in 1978 called “The Imposter Phenomenon in High Achieving Women: Dynamics and Therapeutic Intervention.

Since that time Dr. Clance has identified Imposter Phenomenon in up to 75% of people they studied across multiple demographics. While they first identified it in women, they later went on to find that many people identified with imposter syndrome.

Dr. Clance states that IP “Occurs among high achievers who are unable to internalize and accept their success. They often attribute their success to luck rather than to ability and fear that others will eventually unmask them as a fraud.”

You may be surprised to hear who has admitted to having thoughts linked to Imposter Syndrome.

Some famous people who have experienced this are Author, Maya Angelou who stated “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.”

Albert Einstein confided to a friend saying, “the exaggerated esteem in which my lifework is held makes me very ill at ease. I feel compelled to think of myself as an involuntary swindler.”

Alex Trebek, host of Jeopardy, in a TV interview in July 2020, stated. “I've been very lucky. Luck is a very important element in many people’s success although they don't realize it.”

What should you know about this?

In other words, if you’ve ever felt like an imposter, you are not alone. Many, smart, talented, successful people have felt symptoms of Imposter Syndrome at some point in their life.

How did it start?

In childhood. As a child you often look up to your elders. Your parents, siblings, teachers, coaches, mentors, other kids in school, the neighbourhood, the list goes on.

Imposter Syndrome is often linked to how you were parented. If you were told you’d never be successful, or if you were told your grades were never good enough.

It starts as a seed of self-doubt, an inkling that you are not as good as another person and if this thinking continues because of experiences, you will start to program your unconscious mind with doubts. How you internalized the comments, jokes and feedback from others will impact your degree of Imposter Syndrome.

You will believe everyone else is smarter, better, faster, more talented. You’ll program your Reticular Activating System (R.A.S.) into seeking out and finding proof that you are an imposter, a fraud, not good enough.

Constantly comparing yourself to others. Not acknowledging that others may have worked as hard or harder than you have to achieve the same results. Not acknowledging that others have negative thoughts and fears. In other words, comparing your “blooper” reel to their “sizzle” real.

Of note, Imposter Syndrome is the other side of the spectrum from the Dunning-Kruger Effect. The Dunning-Kruger effect is when people believe they are smarter and more capable than they really are. These people tend to have poor self-awareness and this leads them to overestimated their ability.

One might speculate that Imposter Syndrome comes up later in life as a way to ensure that you’ll never be accused of overestimating your capabilities.

What is the solution?

Balance in the middle of the spectrum between the intellectual humility of Imposter Syndrome and the other extreme which is the Dunning-Kruger Effect. To do this follow these guidelines:

  1. Change Your Self Talk. Pay attention to how you speak to yourself. Identify your thoughts. Pay attention to what you say to yourself. Pay attention to your feelings or emotions that are coming up. Make sure your self talk is positive. Quote from Brian Tracy: “You are not what you think you are, but what you think, you are.”
  2. Accentuate the positive. Focus on what you’ve accomplished that you are pleased with. Keep a list or folder or file of positive feedback and comments. Refer to it often.
  3. Receive positive feedback. Be open to receiving positive feedback. Allow yourself to receive.
  4. Learn from your mistakes. Reframe mistakes into learning opportunities. Discover the learnings and do better next time.
  5. Define your criteria for success: Let go of being perfect – “nobody can relate to perfect”. It’s about meeting the expectations. Profit – Karen, didn’t think she was successful in her business, then looked at her numbers and realized she had surpassed her annual goal.
  6. Take Action Now: Do it now. Follow the 4 D’s – Do it now, Diarize, Delegate or Delete the task.
  7. Seek evidence of success. Measure it, celebrate it, remember it. I am a star because.. I am successful because …
  8. Reach out. Talk to a mentor and ask them to provide you with an objective external perspective of your performance.

Overall, it’s not what you do about Imposter Syndrome, it’s what you can do with it. Use it to fuel you.

Balance in the middle of the spectrum between the intellectual humility of Imposter Syndrome and the other extreme which is the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

It’s not what you do about Imposter Syndrome, it’s what you can do with it. Use it to fuel you and be aware of when it’s not fueling you.

When you are not sleeping well, losing your temper, not sharing your ideas, trying to stay small and invisible, it’s time to reach out and ask for help.

Seek professional help if this is stopping you from enjoying your life or you’re feeling overwhelming anxiety or depression.

If you’ve tried all the techniques above and you’re still feeling like Imposter Syndrome may be stopping you, it’s time to set up a call with me. We’ll spend 60 minutes together in a Clarity Session.

Remember, you are not alone. Many people, just like you, have felt like an imposter at times.

If you apply this, what new results will be generated?

  • Applying these new behaviours will free up your thoughts and limiting beliefs to be able to enjoy your work and your life more.
  • You’ll enjoy the balance of seeing yourself in a much more positive way without the negative and draining effects that have stopped you in the past.
  • You’ll speak up more, share your ideas more confidently and celebrate your success more often.

It’s time for you to let go of Imposter Syndrome. It’s time for you to enjoy your work and your life more.

I believe that you have the potential inside of you to BE who you want to be, to DO what you’re passionate about and to HAVE the success you’re striving for. It’s in you.

I provide high performance mindset shifts that transform your thoughts and beliefs using quantum linguistics and proven coaching techniques designed to blast your through your limiting beliefs, so that you release your inner bad ass and confidently take action to grow your business and your revenue.

Let’s connect to discuss your needs and explore whether we're a good fit. No pressure, just great conversation.

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