Yesterday I read a post by Dr Perry, I tried the Reblog feature but it wasn’t quite what I expected so hoping to be able to put the link at the end so you can read it too! Great article with lots of good content on Imposter Syndrome.
I have really struggled with this lately. I can look back and see where I have dealt with feeling like an imposter, that I will be discovered and the impact it has had on my life.
Wikipedia defines it as a psychological pattern in which people doubt their accomplishments and have a persistent, often internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. An article on http://www.fastcompany.com states that imposter syndrome reflects a belief that you’re an inadequate and incompetent failure……ouch. But yea, definitely think I am inadequate, incompetent and struggle to see where I haven’t failed.
I have really been working hard on myself over the last several years. Reading, hiring coaches and going to seminars. I don’t know the amount of times that I have been asked to list my accomplishments, I truly hate this exercise. Accomplishments?? Well, none. I am not where I thought I would be, I don’t own the “things” I think a successful person should own, I have student debt-ginormous student debt! I am out of shape, I don’t eat right…that list I have down! I always list my 2 girls, but I don’t believe they are MY accomplishments, I think they are wonderful young women in spite of me, not due to me.
I don’t recall coming across Imposter Syndrome before a couple of months ago. I am sure I have but chose to ignore it. First time it stuck is during the Mel Robbins course I have written about on self-confidence. Then I signed up for a meet up where the speaker is talking about Imposter Syndrome (next week I go) and then Dr. Perry’s blog. Universe has a way of smacking us in the face with what we need if we just pay attention.
Imposter Syndrome trait: people pleaser. I have spent my life being a people pleaser. I had convinced myself at a very early age that if I just go over and above what people need I can earn their love and they won’t find out that I am in fact not worthy of it. Boyfriends have said how awesome I am, I mean from pretty much day one I do their laundry, clean their homes, make their dinner-whatever they need. Of course, I am also hell on wheels as internally I am angry that I have to work so hard to get love. Not sure that I ever recognized what I was doing until a therapist asked me if I took care of people because I wanted to or because I was seeking something in return…..um, well, crap. Feel bad for my current partner as I work now to not do too much for him unless I truly want to, even then, I might choose not to just to make sure he loves me for me, not for what I can accomplish for him!
One of the many things in Dr Perry’s blog that struck me was where he stated that unchecked, Imposter Syndrome will limit the person’s quality of life. Yep. I have been so busy people pleasing that I forgot to please myself. I also won’t take a step into anything new without knowing ALL there is to know….so generally I just don’t take the step. This blog for example, I started it in 2014, paid for a host, signed up for a course I never took. Thought, I will blog when I know how the technology works, then when I get my thoughts all organized and oh yea, when I am totally fixed, all my neurosis, negative patterns, bad habits are changed, then I will blog!
I have a Master of Social Work, a Paralegal certificate, I started a Masters in Criminal Justice, a massage program, a nursing program, I am certified to teach yoga, I have taken the tests to license in insurance sales and I have my real estate license. I hide in education, if I have enough people won’t find out that I am a fraud. Education also provides me with great feedback, do the work, get a good grade…see, not a total failure! It is an expensive habit. I continually sign up for coaching programs, webinars, classes–thinking the next one will be what makes me adequate, gives me credence, makes me whole! Then I will be able to do (fill in the blank with whatever it is I am avoiding at the time). Currently I have decided to pursue the drive that I have felt for awhile to share my story and hopefully empower others to have faith in themselves, overcome Imposter Syndrome, show up and shine!!
My Imposter Syndrome is in overdrive!! Who am I to think I can speak in public, that I have anything valid to share, that anyone would even listen to me. I am terrified! Truly, it is bad enough that the people closest to me will find out I am an imposter but on a larger scale AND I want to make speaking my career, have it support me. Can’t tell you how many times I get on craigslist to look for a job. What I find the most frustrating is that I continue to sabotage myself. I don’t follow through on opportunities. I have a list of tasks to complete to move myself forward but I can’t ever seem to get to them. Blah!
Ok, so some positive. Imposter Syndrome can be combated! As with anything we deal with it just takes some work, consistent mindfullness and lots of action! Throw in a good therapist too!
So those same forums where I am asked to list my accomplishments often have the component of others saying what they see in you. The yoga retreat I just recently went on at the end we put our name on a post it note and then everyone wrote one word to describe you. Some of my words: funny, outgoing, strength, confident, uplifting and self-assured. Who, me?!?!?! Now the key to this is to not read your list and then tell yourself yea, I have them fooled because I actually am none of those things, NO!!! Read through the list, the positive comments and truly own them. If you haven’t done one of these exercises, think of a compliment you’ve heard about yourself and own it! In fact, practice some gratitude around these items. For example, I am truly grateful that I have confidence, breathe it in, feel it. This takes practice, ask your brain to please leave it’s comments out, what’s that saying? No comments from the peanut gallery!
Dr Perry suggests reading biographies, recognizing that successful people are just like me! This is a slippery slope. Again, monitor the peanut gallery. I am either able to read or watch someone else and think, oh, they can do it, so can I. OR I think, yea, they are completely freaking awesome and I totally suck and what the hell am I thinking!!! Which is a good segue into the next helpful hint…
Watch what we say to ourselves. I constantly have to monitor my self talk. Even if I mean it to be funny, such as, “way to go dumbass, why’d you drop that on your foot!” My brain hears dumbass and doesn’t distinguish that I am just kidding. Then being the wonderful organ that it is, it scans my world to see in what other ways I am a dumbass. I really am trying to replace my negative self talk with positive. An exercise that I have found helpful is to look in the mirror and use affirmative “I am” statements. Corny at first but truly has helped me feel stronger.
Action–write that blog! Speak up in a meeting, speak up when with friends, just speak up! I make myself talk to strangers, not big conversations mind you, but eye contact and a brief statement-the weather, a compliment, anything. I have been told that if you aren’t pushing yourself you won’t feel Imposter Syndrome….so push! Push away!! Life is just too short to waste because I think I am inadequate and unworthy.
Write that damn list! Write down your accomplishments, we have them, we all do….I am going to go write mine!
Have a beautiful day and be kind to you!
P.S. Here is the link for Dr Perry’s blog post, I tried to copy and paste link but could not…..cursing technology!! Hope it isn’t because I am not suppose to…..
http://www.makeitultrapsychology.wordpress.com, Blog How to Identify and Overcome Imposter Syndrome