Chances are, if you’re feeling some kind of way about something, you’re not alone. One thing that comes up time and time again though… is Imposter syndrome. Put simply, it’s the feeling that you don’t deserve whatever success you’re currently enjoying, you’re not worthy of that title or promotion, you’re not good enough to charge that much for your work, or that at any minute someone’s going to rumble you and call you out for the inexperienced, talentless (insert career title here) that you are.
You’re definitely not alone. Studies have shown that 7 out of 10 people suffer from imposter syndrome and the more successful you are, the more likely you are to experience these feelings of being a fraudster. We have recently been reading ‘Lean In’ written by super successful boss Sheryl Sandberg, she is the chief operating officer at Facebook and undeniably a force to be reckoned with and yet in her own words…
‘‘There are still days when I wake up feeling like a fraud, not sure I should be where I am.’’
Your boss will not promote you, people will not pay for your goods or recommend your services to others etc, out of the goodness of their heart (nor is the Easter bunny, real – sorry folks). They will do it only when they see in you the ability and potential to fulfil the tasks and demands required. It’s as simple as that. Oh, and it’s not that easy to pull the wool over everyone’s eyes, either. (Before you even think it.)
Accept and take ownership of the fact that you can do things in a way that no one else can, you can approach difficulties and problem-solve in your own unique way, it doesn’t matter if you’re not the smartest or most accomplished in the room. Remember, there’s more than one way to skin a cat – pardon the saying. You have incredible value and your ideas matter.
Grab a pen and paper and write down all of your achievements from the past 5 years, now really look at them. You’re not seriously telling me that they’re all down to chance and luck, are you?! We both know that’s not true. You made the most of the opportunities presented to you, you took calculated risks that sometimes paid off (hey, we can’t win ‘em all), you put in the work. When you’re feeling like a fraud, remember that not everyone would have had the foresight to make the choices that you have made, not everyone would have had the stomach to take the risks, or the impetus to put the work in. You have earned your current status, fair and square.
To get anywhere in life, we always need to be ‘in beta’, we need to be out there in the real world, testing ourselves and improving the overall product. Nothing is perfect right from the get-go and we are all a work in progress, friend. If you feel like you’re not quite up to the job you’ve found yourself in? Get stuck in and get your hands dirty until you do.
No one ever said it was going to be easy and a setback – no matter how brutal it feels at the time, no matter how much it shakes your confidence and leaves you feeling like a fraud, you have to dust yourself off and keep going. As long as you have your ‘why’, your raison d’etre front of mind, then you can be flexible about almost everything else. Remember the only people that aren’t successful in reaching their goals, are the ones that quit when the going got tough.
Remember, the fact that you’re feeling these feelings in the first place means that you’re putting yourself out there and going after your biggest goals!
If you’re currently feeling bogged down by it all, go through points one to five – really take some time to sit with the thoughts and let them permeate. Figure out the next steps that will help move you towards your biggest goals and your highest good. Then, take a big deep breath and get back to it – the world needs you and what you have to offer.
We’re rooting for you!