Is the entire world about to find out you’re an imposter?
Most likely not.
Unless you are Billy McFarland and the Netflix documentary Fyer has aired about you. But, for most people, it does feel this way on a daily basis. If you think you’re an imposter, chances are you care really deeply about what you are doing and why you are doing it. Otherwise, you wouldn’t care what people thought, and that alone is awesome.
Here’s the thing, studies have found that you are more capable than you believe. Your obnoxious thoughts of self-doubt and the lingering concern of being labeled a fraud are all that, just thoughts. There is a big difference between thoughts and facts.
I listen to way to many people talk about how they aren’t good enough for something or aren’t ready to follow their dreams. They have talked themselves into a corner of safety and protection. And that isn’t a fun place to live for too long.
So, I beg of you, please help ensure this doesn’t happen to you, and consider these three lessons on overcoming imposter syndrome. If you can’t do it for yourself, do it for me!
1. Reflect through your subconscious.
Stories are wonderful things, and I should know, I write them for a living. But, if you are telling yourself the wrong ones, they become very dangerous, and can basically, ruin your life. Most stories are created in your mind as a child. An event from your past, significant or not, can create an emotional loop in your mind that results in unhelpful reactions later in life.
I grew up with two incredible parents that taught me anything was possible if I was willing to work hard for it. Yes, this is entirely true. But, it became a belief and a story I would tell myself on repeat. If I wasn’t working hard, I wasn’t succeeding.
I have come to understand that rest is required to be successful, and that along with hard work, success stems as a result of many other things.
Start to reflect on what thoughts trigger you limiting beliefs, and where they first showed up in your life. From here, you can reframe the story in your mind and create one that doesn’t have the same result. Heck, I know a lot of successful people that didn’t have to work too hard to get it, and I have had moments where making money never felt easier than tying my shoelaces. It’s time we start telling ourselves those stories on repeat.
2. Remove the idea.
People resist change because they don’t want to believe that they could have been wrong for so long. Many people don’t believe it’s possible to stop believing things in the first place. But it totally is!
Your perception is your reality. And you must adjust your perception in order to more clearly see an accurate reality.
A great visual of this is, to imagine the logo outside your business is orange, every day you walk into the office and see the orange sign. Then, one day, your business associate walked up and peeled off a layer of orange film to reveal that the sign is, in fact, blue. You now can clearly see that although the sign was once orange, it is truly blue. Neither thought is wrong, but you won’t go back to believing the sign is orange.
This orange film could represent the belief that your business will never succeed or that you aren’t worthy of receiving the achievements you have to date. Whatever the limiting mindset that triggers inside of you, know that it can be peeled off.
3. Do things that build your value.
This is where I put on my bossy pants. If you want to believe you are a successful artist, entrepreneur, speaker…whatever your aspiration is, start doing things to make that a reality.
Instead of sitting around wondering, “why am I not good enough” get out there and make yourself good enough.
Take notice of when you find yourself living in the most self-doubt, and then take initiative to improve that specific skill or area of your life.
The amount of time people spend sitting around venting about how they aren’t good enough should instead be spent honing in on their skillset, tackling a unique challenge or finding a new opportunity. You will likely fail and fall on your face when you first start. But, like a baby learning to walk, you won’t ever learn to run unless your willing to fall down along the way.
The easiest way to build your value and eliminate feeling like an imposter is to build up examples and experiences that you can turn to when those thoughts creep into your mind. The next time you find yourself thinking, “I am an imposter” you can quickly fight that off and recall multiple instances where you actively were living your goals.
It can be scary and intimidating to step out and force yourself to do this, but trust me, feeling like an imposter feels a whole lot worse. It’s like picking your poison, and I chose to pick the one that tastes slightly more like chocolate.
Remember, you aren’t alone in this. Even the most successful people feel like imposters, the lovely Emma Watson once said in Vogue, “Now when I receive recognition for my acting, I feel incredibly uncomfortable. I tend to turn in on myself. I feel like an imposter.”
We all know she is great, and so are you.
This article first appeared on Medium.