When it comes to ‘how to overcome impostor syndrome’ I’ve been stuck with it for a long time. Below is an excerpt from a Facebook post I shared last month about me and impostor syndrome:
Do you ever feel like a fraud or a phoney, like where you fell is by way of luck? I do, all the time. It’s called Impostor Syndrome and it’s when you feel inadequate although it’s evident you are in fact successful or knowledgable in some area. Sound familiar?
I often feel like an impostor right here on my own blog, my negative self-talk ‘Bob’ tells me, ‘Who do you think you are to talk about mindset and mental health?’ I feel like an imposter in my own business too, with Bob challenging me with, ‘Who do you think you are to talk about SEO or to write articles for other businesses?’
“The experience of feeling like a phoney—you feel as though at any moment you are going to be found out as a fraud—like you don’t belong where you are, and you only got there through dumb luck. It can affect anyone no matter their social status, work background, skill level, or degree of expertise.”
In learning about how to overcome impostor syndrome, I’ve learnt that it can show up differently in different people. Some experience it as paralysis where they can’t move forward and take the next step (this is me). Others experience a block of creativity, or they just feel like giving up. I have to be honest; I think I experience all of these. Do you?
Since sharing the above Facebook post, I made it my mission to get rid of the fraudulent feeling, replacing it with something a hell of a lot better and I think I’m close.
How to get rid of impostor syndrome
Swap your head for your heart
I am a classic overthinker. I analyse everything, and too much. But guess what? Doing this means I am letting my head get in the way, a lot. If this is you too, this is the part where we need to move over to our heart where we focus on being our authentic selves. When our heads do all of the decision making, we snuff out what our heart says and conform to what society wants, otherwise known as being people pleasers. I made a pact with myself a couple of months ago to be my unique self a lot more and boy do I see the results when I do.
But just a reminder, when those negative thoughts start to pop into your head, the comparisons, feeling like a fraud, ask yourself if they are true or are they just thoughts that aren’t serving you in any way?
Of course, it’s not that easy to just jump from your head to your heart. You need to take some sort of control; you need to be intentional and commit to yourself. This commitment might be to do something consistently every week that is uniquely you. There is someone out there that needs to hear it from you, the way you do it.
Mind your own business
MYOB means you have to stop comparing yourself to others; the grass is not always greener. What I’ve learnt is (and this was a shock to me) that the most successful business people NEVER worry about making the wrong decision or what other business owners are doing. I mean, can you imagine that? The feeling? Instead, they decide to get themselves into action, to help them get closer to whatever it is they are trying to achieve.
“But what about when things go wrong?” I hear you ask. Well, if it is wrong, the mindset is that it’s not pushing them backwards, it’s just getting them closer to the results they’re after. When you make the wrong decision, you learn from it and correct your direction.
We need to accept that we won’t always make the right decisions, that we’ll screw up royally sometimes–understanding that failure is not the opposite of success, it’s part of success.” – Arianna Huffington
I know that I catch myself comparing quite a lot; social media doesn’t help that, and neither does working in the digital marketing industry. But what I’ve learnt works well is to tell yourself a mantra when you catch yourself comparing, e.g. “The people I’m comparing myself to are not perfect.”
Doing a digital social media detox is also a great way to get your mind more centred, even if it’s just over the weekend.
Competition is good
It took me a while to realise that there is, in fact, enough for everyone, particularly from a business point of view. When we have our impostor syndrome hat on, we can get sucked into seeing other people as competitors; in life and business. The truth is, there is more than enough for everyone, and no one is taking anything from you. Instead of letting your negative self-talk take over when you see a friend’s or competitor’s success, reach out and congratulate them. When you do this, you are declaring that there’s enough room for everyone. It’ll also make you feel terrific.
Acknowledge your achievements
Now here’s your chance to acknowledge your credibility and success. Get a piece of paper and go right back, to high school if you want. Write down everything you’ve accomplished, including the skills you’ve developed, the knowledge you’ve gained. This is your PROOF!
The thing is, if we keep telling ourselves that we’re not credible or successful, that’s precisely where we will stay. So write it down! Reframe the story you’re telling yourself.
- People don’t care about what you do or what you say or how you do something; they’re too busy worrying about themselves.
- There are plenty of people out there who are like you, in terms of age, family makeup, job etc. But are they you? No. Can they do things the way you do them? Also no. We are all unique, and the way we deliver our message is unique, too.
- Think right back to the beginning and think about what you’ve done to get to where you are today. It’s pretty damn amazing, right?
When I learnt about these steps, I felt as though a weight had lifted. I’m so glad I could share them with you, and now that you know how to overcome impostor syndrome, you too can feel so much more at ease with just being you.