I once worked with a coach in a group coaching program who told us we should seek to get better at imposter syndrome, not try to make it go away. His philosophy is that imposter syndrome came as a result of taking risks. Taking risks is a healthy part of development and he wanted us to move past the fear of failure to experience that growth.
For many people imposter syndrome, or feeling like a phony, is part of the reason they avoid change. The term was first introduced back in the ‘70s and is loosely defined as doubting your abilities and feeling like a fraud.
I’ve dealt with imposter syndrome in my life, though at the time I didn’t know there was a name for it. This was several years ago while part of the senior leadership team at the organization where I worked. I often had the very clear thought that at any moment my bosses would figure out I didn’t know what I was doing, and they would fire me. I truly believed that if they plucked me out and put another person in my seat, things would continue even better without me there.
Imposter syndrome and change
This is essentially what imposter syndrome looks like in action. It’s a conviction that you are not as qualified as people think you are. You’re not as “good” as they think, and they’ll eventually figure it out. The result is you shrink yourself, play small, and don’t fully express all of your gifts and talents.
Imposter syndrome can often rear its ugly head when you’re navigating change. As you move away from the familiar and start doing things differently, it’s not uncommon for self-doubt and feelings of being a fraud to be present. These can trip you up as you move through change keeping you stuck or worse running back to what no longer works for you.
Today, I want to offer that rather than being a stumbling block, Imposter Syndrome can actually be a gift to you. If you stop and challenge feelings of being an imposter you might discover these three surprising things about yourself:
As my coach said, imposter syndrome can be a sign you’re taking risks. You’re stepping out of your comfort zone and experimenting with things you’ve not done before. This living outside your comfort zone is no easy thing and yet here you are doing it. You are braver than you think, and imposter syndrome may be hiding it from you.
Imposter syndrome is fueled by comparison. Comparing yourself to the person next to you only serves to rob you of your confidence. Rather than getting trapped in the comparison game, see imposter syndrome as an opportunity to identify what is real and true about YOU.
Identifying my strengths and the unique things I brought to my organization is how I eventually overcame those feelings of being a phony. When I could see my skills, gifts, and talents, when I could see myself more clearly, I realized the imposter voice was a lie.
Hiding behind the voice of impostorism is the truth about you. Challenge those “not good enough” words until you can see and fully own how capable you are.
You’re not alone
I am willing to bet that a large percentage of people deal with imposter syndrome. You are not alone in this struggle. Even today, I have to catch myself when the “who do you think you are” thoughts start in my mind. And funny enough they almost always show up when I start doing new things. Interesting how that works.
You’re not alone. Ask some of the people in your life and I’ll bet they will share a similar experience. Get those nagging thoughts out of your head into the light and you’ll discover that it isn’t only you.
Imposter syndrome has the power to take you out of the game of life completely. Thing is, you only get one chance at this thing called life. One chance to live out your wild audacious life. Will you allow imposter syndrome to rob you of this life? Or will you look it in the eye and uncover the gifts hiding for you in it?
Here’s to you choosing the latter and rising into your greatness.
From my heart to yours,
P.S: If you’re struggling with imposter syndrome and would like support to move past it, let’s talk. Click here to schedule a complimentary call with me. On this call, we’ll look at what it will take to move from where you are to where you want to be and what’s standing in your way. The call is free so schedule it today.