I’m going to be vulnerable with you all and admit that sometimes I feel like a fraud. I often underestimate my expertise, my knowledge, my education, my resourcefulness. To sum it up, I suffer from Impostor Syndrome. And, to be completely frank, I bet you do too! In fact, 70% of Millennials do according to the International Journal of Behavioral Science. And I want you to know that you’re not alone!
Maybe you feel it in your job. Or maybe you feel it in your business. You could even feel it as a parent. No matter when or where you feel it, you know that it can be debilitating. It stops you in your tracks, it scares you, it makes your heart beat uncontrollably fast, it makes you cry, you feel your stress level rising, you doubt yourself, and you begin to wonder what you’re even doing with your life. Like I said, it’s debilitating.
I have been working on overcoming Impostor Syndrome for a long time. And while I have come a long way, I’m not completely over it. And that’s okay, because overcoming it doesn’t happen overnight, and I can see the progress I have made. I can now easily say and truly believe that I am a badass. That I have expertise and knowledge that others are praying for. That I deserve to find success in my career and my life in general.
And I would love to share with you all some tips and tools I have personally used to work on overcoming Impostor Syndrome:
Start a success journal. Grab a notebook and start brainstorming all of the things you have accomplished in your life starting from kindergarten and ending at your current age. It could be something as small and seemingly insignificant as learning to ride a bike as a kid or being able to climb all the way to the otherside of the monkey bars without touching the ground. It should also include the feats you’re proud of. Maybe you won the Spelling B in the 5th grade, or got a 4.0 in high school, or it could even be that you didn’t flunk out of college! Whatever it is, write it down in the notebook and add to it as you continue to achieve more and more things! And every time you feel Impostor Syndrome creeping in, read your journal to see just how much you have accomplished in your life (I can already tell you that it’s a lot)!
Work on your affirmations. Find some affirmations that you resonate with and that make you feel empowered (you can Google “affirmations” to get ideas!). Repeat these affirmations to yourself daily, even multiple times a day. Write them on post-it notes and place them all around your house so you can see them throughout the day. With consistency, you will begin to notice how easy it is to believe them!
Learn from your mistakes. We all make mistakes and we all fail at things. That’s life! What’s important is that we take the time to learn from our mistakes instead of focusing on our failures. Forgive yourself, figure out what you can learn from it and move on. Turn your mistakes into life lessons, and never overwhelm yourself with the feeling of failure. Always try to turn the negative into a positive.
Visualize your success. Take five or ten minutes every day and visualize whatever success means to you. Visualize yourself with a million dollars in your bank account, or on that vacation you’ve been dreaming of, or having 5 clients a month. Imagine what you would feel when you reach one of those goals and then actually FEEL IT! Feel the excitement, the happiness, the gratefulness, the relief. Jump up and down, dance it out, do whatever makes the visualization seem real! By doing this, you’re training your mind to focus on your goals rather than on being a ‘fraud’.
End the comparison game. Stop comparing yourself to others! Everyone is on their own journey. Everyone is struggling with different things. When you compare yourself to others who are more successful than you, you might start to feel like a fraud. Instead of being jealous of others’ success, ask yourself what they’re doing that’s different than you. See if you can gain inspiration or value from them. But don’t compare yourself; they’re different people and their businesses are different than yours.
Read praise from others. Read your client testimonials. Ask a close friend, mentor, or coach to write an uplifting and inspirational message for you. Better yet, ask a couple people to write messages for you! Read these messages when you feel like an impostor, and when you need to be uplifted! Read them often enough and you will begin to understand how amazing you are!
Kick perfectionism. It will only lead to exhaustion, stress, and feelings of failure. I want to let you in on a little secret here: no one expects you to be perfect. No one! So don’t be perfect. Done is ALWAYS better than perfect. And coming across as somewhat imperfect does NOT make you a fraud; it makes you authentic and a real person!
Find your cheerleader. We all need some sort of support system, right? Find someone you trust who will let you vent, someone to cheer you on, someone to push you outside your comfort zone, someone who will help you through the challenges and struggles you’re facing. Maybe you have a friend who’s in a similar position as you, or you have someone you look up to that can be your mentor, or maybe you hire a coach. Whatever you decide to do, just make sure you have someone on your side who will be sure to lift you up when you feel down, who will remind you that you’re not an impostor, and who will remind you of your awesomeness!
Now that you are able to implement these steps, soon you will no longer be asking yourself, “who am I to be seen as an expert in my field,” or even “who am I to be an entrepreneur?” I’ll say it a final time: Impostor Syndrome is debilitating. I want to see you succeed and even more than that, thrive! Because you absolutely deserve to lead a LIMITLESS life! So try out these tips and see what works best for you!