Until recently I wasn’t even aware of the term imposter syndrome. On and off over the last few years I have had that niggling feeling of doubting myself or feeling like a fraud but mostly I just put it down to my age. At 24 years of age and with two successful businesses under my belt, I suspected some around me, particularly my older peers just didn’t think I had the experience or know-how to pull if off. It’s not that anyone had called me out on it, it was an internal monologue that would plant seeds of doubt and made me think maybe I just didn’t have what it takes.
So in a quest to resolve this niggling feeling, I decided to dig deeper to get to the root of where these feelings were coming from and nip them in the bud. After endless hours trawling the internet, reading articles upon articles that referred to this ‘imposter syndrome,’ I soon realised I wasn’t alone. In fact, imposter syndrome affects people of all ages regardless of what stage in life we are at, even top CEO’s.
Once I realised it wasn’t just me, it not only gave me comfort but it also provided valuable perspective. Knowing that imposter syndrome can affect the best of us, made me realise that we can all have inner doubts and that it is in fact healthy, and a great way to check in with yourself every now and then. And the wonderful thing about perspective is that you have the incredible power to change it and in turn use helpful practices to combat any of those self-doubting thoughts.
Over time I have come up with some incredibly valuable rituals that have helped me put things into perspective and cement how much I have accomplished, rather than what I haven’t.
I make lists of reasons why I’m proud of myself
When I began to really assess my imposter syndrome what I realised was the internal monologue I was having with myself. That the thoughts running through my head were criticisms or focused on what I had yet to accomplish. I seemed to glimmer over what I had achieved without really thinking about the strength, perseverance and determination it took to get me there.
So I decided to shift my focus on what I have accomplished, all things big and small. I have now made it a routine that whenever any of those niggling thoughts come through, I write on a piece of paper all the things I’m proud of. And I really take the time to reflect and acknowledge what it took for me to get there. Writing the list is one step, but the reflecting part is also crucial. Instead of quickly skimming through what you’ve accomplished, allow yourself the space to feel really proud of what you’ve achieved.
I have a spreadsheet to track any progress I make towards my goals (no matter how small)
So that I can continue momentum with personal and professional goals, I have an excel spreadsheet where I can track the goals I have made. Sometimes we’re so quick to check off a goal, we forget about how many we’ve actually checked off. By keeping this spreadsheet handy, it not only encourages me to stay motivated, it also reminds me of all the steps I have taken to get to where I am now.
I surround myself with inspiring and encouraging people who see my value even when I don’t
Over time, I’ve really begun to understand and value the importance of how the people around me affect me. I’ve had experiences with some people that have an incredible energy to be around, on the flip side I’ve also had negative experiences with people who are just plain toxic. So I made it my mission to really curate and nurture my inner circle. Sometimes people just come into your life and unconsciously become a part of your inner circle. Instead of letting the universe do its thing, I’ve actively made it a strategy to have the best inner circle possible.
That means eliminating or distancing yourself from certain people who just don’t make you feel good and proactively seeking out who you would love to spend more time around. That could be family, friends or mentors, those that you know will really enrich your life. And it means taking control, even getting outside your comfort zone to approach people who might feel out of reach. And lastly, nurture these relationships, of course, life can sometimes get the best of us, but it’s up to us to really take control to shift ourselves into the right direction.