I was so excited to write this blog but then thought, “who am I to write about this subject? I’m not a psychologist. What could I possibly say that could make a difference?”
Do you see what I did there? That’s imposter syndrome.
I was in a wonderful Twitter Spaces discussion about Imposter Syndrome that lasted two hours. There were two people who said they didn’t think they “suffered” from Impostor syndrome. I thought, “I can’t imagine not having feelings of inadequacy at some point with some aspect of my life.”
We’ll get more into the word “inadequacy” later.
Lo and behold, while they were speaking, they caught themselves saying something that resembled imposter syndrome.
Awareness is the first step to understanding if you may have imposter syndrome. Let’s cover a few things here:
- What is impostor syndrome
- How to deal with impostor syndrome
- Tips for overcoming impostor syndrome
- Benefits of having impostor syndrome
What is it? In my own words, we feel we’re not worthy of the success we see others experience. We have doubts and uncertainty about our capability because we don’t have evidence (results) of what we could accomplish.
Here’s what others say:
PsychologyToday.com “…undeserving of their achievements and the high esteem in which they are, in fact, generally held.”
VeryWellMind.com “…the internal psychological experience of feeling like a phony in some area of your life,…”
ChatGPT: “…feelings of inadequacy or self-doubt that can occur among high-achieving individuals, despite evidence of their competence.”
I wear contact lenses. I also wear reading glasses on top of my contact lenses. That’s how poor my vision is. It’s bad, really bad since the age of five.
- I don’t dwell on it.
- I don’t lose sleep over it.
- I don’t feel bad about myself because of it.
I’ve learned to live with it, manage it and overcome the challenges when faced with the inadequacy of my vision.
There’s that word again, inadequacy.
What can we do to overcome it if we have this tendency?
First thing is to honor it, embrace it, show it some love, and give it some grace. Acknowledge it by saying, “oh good you’re here to remind me that I have some unfinished business to do.”
Once you do that, you can focus on arranging a plan of action toward a goal. I’d find it difficult to believe that someone will decide to run a marathon if they’ve never engaged in running as part of their regular routine.
Practice makes progress. Progress yields results.
impostor syndrome has benefits once we’re aware that we’re looping with the negative side effects of it. With ambition, whether it’s an endeavor of a personal or professional nature, imposter syndrome could be the nudge we need to realize that something is important enough for us to pursue.
We could be faced with internal cues that we want more than our current situation provides. Maybe we’ve reached the saturation point of the status quo and long for a challenge to achieve a higher level of success.
In the days of ancient humans, adrenaline kept them safe when there was a threat in the vicinity. Imposter syndrome is like anti-adrenaline. It can keep us stuck to avoid the danger of an emotional breach.
impostor syndrome keeps us safe from failing and from embarrassing ourselves if we fail. However, the flip side is that it could also extinguish the flame of desire for success. What do I mean?
If you have a goal that is outside the normal competence you possess, and you don’t go for it because you think you’re not worthy, you give up on that potential of achievement.
What’s next when this happens?
My recommendation is to put in writing exactly what you’re worried about with trying something that makes you nervous and fills you with doubt. Then, write down the potential failures and possible successes.
Then phone a friend and ask tor help to discuss baby steps toward the goal and an outcome that could encourage you to continue or a signal telling you “do not pass go.”
Hang out with other small business owners who support one another before, during and after things get glitchy.
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