Updated: Mar 3
Have you ever noticed that your imposter shows up at exactly the wrong moment? They like to visit during moments of success, maybe you’re launching a new service or taking on your first paying client. Annoyingly he tends to pop up at times of change or transition, and if you’re trying to increase your visibility and put yourself out there don’t be surprised if he pays you a visit. Nobody likes an unpleasant, uninvited guest. Particularly one that has the power to stifle your growth, hold you back and damage your business.
People who struggle with ‘Imposter Syndrome’ believe they don’t deserve to be successful or feel consumed with self-doubt. They feel that they aren’t as good as everyone else thinks they are or that their success is down to luck. They feel like frauds just waiting to be found out. These feeling can be crippling if left unmanaged.
I don’t really like the term imposter syndrome, so I like to refer to my it as my Imposter (in my head they looks like the bogeyman in a long black cape). The medical undertone of the word ‘Syndrome’ makes it sound like people have an illness or a disorder which it isn’t. It’s common, over 70% of us have reported experiencing it. Turns out anyone who’s ever created something new or done something for the first time are likely to have experienced imposter syndrome. Don’t get me wrong those feelings that invade your mind are unpleasant and can lead to a lot of anxiety if left unmanaged.
I have good news and bad news for you. The bad news is there isn’t a ‘cure’ like all limiting beliefs they don’t go away, your internal voice is part of you. The good news is there’s ways you can manage the noise and get to know your imposter, so they doesn’t cause you too much trouble.
Now for the sciencey bit, our knowledge of neuroplasticity has shown us just how incredible our brains are. They have the ability to create new pathways and connections and research tells us that it is only by doing things differently, and practising thinking in new ways, that our underlying thoughts and habits change.
By taking action that pushes you outside your comfort zone is crucial for tackling limiting beliefs and the more you do it the easier it becomes.
Here are 7 ways to keep your imposter in check:
Notice it – Increase your awareness of your imposter. When and where does he show up? What does he say?
Normalise it - Oh this is my imposter telling me something, no worries I can choose whether to listen or not. Its normal, most people experience this at times, it’s not some dark secret I need to hide.
Understand it: Where is the message the imposter is giving you coming from? It might be a message you heard as a child, a message you hear from society or a message that is trying to stop you from putting yourself out there.
Challenge it: Are your thoughts true? Remind yourself of your expertise, experience and past successes. Talk to someone who knows you and will be honest with you. Explore your feelings with them. Stay focused on your own achievements.
Reframe it: Is that a message you want to listen to? What messages would serve you better?
Accept it: Remember it’s okay not to know what you’re doing at times and to get it wrong so take the pressure off. Running your own business, starting a new job, retraining is a steep learning curve. Think of yourself as training on the job and building expertise gradually. As long as your passionate and enthusiastic about what you’re doing it’ll be fine.
Action it: Take action in spite of self-doubt. Repeatedly doing this will change the way you think over time. Open yourself up to new opportunities, step into spaces where you’re not the finished product but you can stretch and grow.
Try and make friends with your imposter as they're always going to be there. But keep him in check, make sure he whispers to you rather than shouts. Having the occasional chat with your imposter isn’t a bad thing, it keeps things real and our egos in check. It also probably signals you’re stepping out of your comfort zone and gaining expertise. Several experts believe your imposter pops up because of becoming more successful which reminds me of the famous Aristotle quote which I’ll leave you with, “The more you know, the more you don’t know.”
If you’d like some support tackling your imposter, then let me help. Click HERE to book a coaching session and we’ll have him whispering in no time.