Inching Out The Imposter

Originally posted to LinkedIn Tracey is amazing, she has it all.  

Tenacity, brains, motivation, and people are drawn to her, they hang on her every word. Tracey has built numerous businesses, gained multiple certifications, manages the daily in and outs of social media, advertising, accounting and more as well as keep a beautiful home and raise two girls with her amazing husband. She lives the “white-picket-fence” of lives.

This is how people see Tracey, she knows that, yet she can’t accept that she is the “do it all, conquer it all gal” people think she is. She feels herself easing back on the projects, feeling trapped by the tiniest of details, questioning her worthiness, and retreating away from social interactions. She feels like a complete fraud and wonders when the veil will fall away exposing the truth.

Does this sound familiar? 

It should because we have all experienced this at one time or another, it’s called Imposter Syndrome or Imposter Phenomenon. It’s a fear of being exposed or fear of inadequacy. Most people feel this is specific only to them however, research shows most Americans struggle with this.

So how can you identify Imposter Syndrome? Ask yourself these questions.

-Do you work and rework assignments and projects over and over, trying to find perfection?

-Do you have amazing ideas but keep them to yourself?

-Do you tend to research something to the point you are paralyzed by the answers you’ve found?

-Do you feel like everyone around you is better or more successful than you?

-Do you routinely walk away from social situations and question if you should’ve been present, spoken up, or how people perceived you?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re in the midst of listening to your critical inner voice, the Imposter. The Imposter’s voice whispers fear, self-doubt, shame, and perfectionism into everyone’s ears. 

There are several links to Imposter Syndrome, many afflicted individuals have high achievement standards and tend to tip toward perfectionism.  

Some of the common links are:

-Fear of failure or the unknown

-Shame over past successes

-The need to be the absolute best

It’s important to realize that this phenomenon is real and based on emotion. The feeling of being a fraud and a fake can become so paralyzing that it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy, just like Tracey who lost her luster and drive for life.  

How do you combat the Imposter who so craftily whispers in your ear?

First, recognize that it does exist and you’re not alone! 

You will feel isolated and lonely when it rears its ugly head. Rather than be fearful and retreat, recognize this voice, define what is FACT or FICTION.  

You can do this by breaking down the job or goal with small steps. Ask yourself if this based on reality or feeling? Give yourself a moment to define the emotion. Each step achieved is a step in your personal success, this is a FACT.

Be on the lookout the Imposter will whisper “It’s not good enough” this is FICTION.

Second, Imposter loves nothing more than to place shame when you have had success. You may say things like:

-It was just luck

-It was the team

-I only got it because…

Qualifying statements are a clear indicator of shame, guilt, and lack of confidence. 

To overcome this recall a defining moment, one where you are confident, the head of the spear in a great achievement. Remember these moments, they will bring you back to what you accomplished rather than wallowing in a feeling of shame for taking credit. 

This is a FACT. 

Confidence can be exercised when we relish what we have attained, there is no guilt and shame in giving and working toward your best.

Be on the lookout, Imposter will whisper “You are arrogant and boastful.” This is FICTION.

Third, you’re not perfect.

Too many times we are paralyzed by the need of perfection, you must learn to work on a continuum; good-better-best. By defining a personal continuum of achievement this allows for redemption and positive forward momentum. This gives you FACTS.  

Develop a new script when it comes to less than your best, focus on the positive.

Be on the lookout, Imposter will whisper “This is what losers do, it must be perfect!” 

This is FICTION.

Some of our deepest fears are rooted in worth and the Imposter uses it as an advantage. Exercising FACT from FICTION will give you the upper hand in quelling that voice. Remember, be fair, weigh the evidence, don’t discount achievements, embrace your weaknesses, and recognize your unique abilities.  

If all else fails, deploy the Imposter’s counterpart, The Master.

The Master holds kindness, strength, drive, praises effort, and encourages through failure.  The Master whispers “You are worthy, you are great.”

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