Have you ever wrestled with the feeling of “not good enough” or “feel like a fraud”? If so, you’ve probably experienced the imposter syndrome. Those feelings are shockingly common but people just don’t often talk about them.
When I was training to be a coach and learning how to self-publish my first book, I found the feelings of self-doubt and notion of imposter syndrome are very common among my peers.
I think it is normal and even healthy to be mindful about the quality of our work. However, if you have been skillfully trained or highly experienced in what you do and yet you are consumed by the fear of failure or success, then it’s time to change that thought.
The world is missing out because you keep yourself away from doing the very thing you would love to do.
There is a difference between making sure you are doing quality work versus perfectionism. If it stops you from doing what your heart knows you love to do, unless it is so-called perfect and it goes on for YEARS, then you may very well be in a rabbit hole of perfectionism.
I’ve heard a story about a panel of best-selling authors speaking at a writer’s conference. Someone from the audience said he has a book written for some time, it is kind of his “labour of love” and he would love to self-publish it but just couldn’t bring herself to do it because he feels like an imposter. The most respected and acclaimed author in the group said: “Don’t worry, I feel the same way, sometimes I think soon or later people will find out I am actually a fraud.” Then everyone laughed.
So even the famous author feels that way sometimes. But it didn’t stop her to pursue her dream. If she didn’t step out from her comfort zone many years ago and get her first book out there, millions of readers and writers would have missed out of her brilliant work. By the way, her first book wasn’t an instant best-seller nor masterpiece. She becomes a best-selling author after many books and overcoming those feelings on many occasions.
Cultivate The Sense of Belonging and Courage
Sometimes we also feel we don’t belong from the group people we may aspire to become. You may say to yourself in your head “Who do you think you are?” or “There is no way you can be like one of them”.These people got X, they have done Y or they are friends with Z.
Yet, many successful people have those thoughts in their head at times, or worse, being told in private or public those exact words. But it is up to you if you are going to change the course of your life, or not.
I know that our personality can be part of the reasons how we react to this fear but a lot of it also has to do with our upbringing and social conditioning as well. When someone keeps telling you something about you persistently for a very long time or everyone around you accept that as a fact too, it is very hard to defy that. It is not easy to stand up and say: This is just NOT TRUE. It takes a lot of courage. No argument here.
Think about the time and courage it took for women getting voting rights, entering the work force, leading big businesses or getting equal pay. I am not saying it is easy at all.
But guess what? Courage is something we cultivate and build OVER TIME.
Sometimes we need to be pushed to the edge in order to find out we can fly.
Sometimes we grow older and wiser, we figure this out. We break away.
Courage starts to grow when we begin to embrace the imperfection in life or in us. Things may not go our way. Certain things we just cannot control. When we follow our bliss and listen to our heart, we are on a path of being true to ourselves. It may not be a straight path but it is the sure way to have more peace and joy in life.
Overcoming Imposter Syndrome
When you sense the feelings and thoughts of imposter syndrome are coming on, switch to these:
- Henry Ford said: “Whether You Think You Can or Think You Can’t – You’re Right.” So what are you going to choose?
- People’s opinion is just that, their opinion, they may not be true and especially it may not be true for you
- When you really care about what you do, and at the same time, you also worry about what people think about what you do, make sure the love of what you do win over your fear.
- Think in 5 years time, will you regret NOT to do this thing you are so afraid? How about in 10 years?
- A wise woman told me the art of living a happy and successful life is to find perfection in all imperfection.
- If you would like to move forward in life, focus on Progress instead of Perfection.
- Progress will be achieved through a series of consistent and incremental actions, so take small steps over time.
- Deliberate practice can improve all things. But we still need to start somewhere. Where you are is perfect to start.
- It’s not the critics who count. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena. (from part of Theodore Roosevelt’s quote) So get in the arena and dare greatly!
- “There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure” – Paulo Coelho
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