To put it simply, imposter syndrome is the fear of being found out.
You fear that if you are found out, that you’ll be labeled, judged and rejected. You fear you won’t be taken seriously.
In response to this fear you do 1 of 3 things.
#1 You strive.
You grind out your work out day after day to stay one step ahead of this jury that is going to find you out and cast judgment. You perform and hustle so that no one can tell you that you don’t belong. Striving is an exhausting way to live.
#2 You hide.
If you can’t strive and perform, you hide and pretend. You put more emphasis on your appearance than your performance.
You may use apathy to hide. Apathy is a shield. You tell yourself, you really don’t want it. It’s as if you’re running away from something you never wanted so bad. You use apathy to protect yourself from caring because if you care, you might be found out and you might get hurt.
Some people use anger and sarcasm to hide. You make excuses why you’re not showing up. You blame others. You justify your lack of progress.
#3 You quit.
If you can’t strive or hide, you simply quit.
What’s your response to imposter syndrome? Strive, hide, or quit?
Clearly, not one of those things is helping you one bit. So what should you do instead?
This is how to outsmart imposter syndrome.
#1 Instead of striving, check your expectations.
Imposter syndrome sets wildly unrealistic expectations and when they aren’t met it proves you’re an imposter.
Instead, aim high, but aim true. You should have high expectations. But be the best YOU, not the best somebody else.
Ask “What are my expectations?”
It slows you down to check in on what is really going on. Maybe your expectations are unrealistic. Like, thinking you should have Instant expertise or a flawless performance, or get a standing ovation.
#2 Instead of hiding, show-up.
Show up with your mistakes, your failures.
Remember when you show-up, it will either be a success or be a story.
When you share your failures, you remove imposter syndrome’s teeth. So share your story. Share what you learned. Your experiences, good and bad, are meant to be shared. The scars you share are a gift to others because you went first.
What’s a challenge or struggle you need to share with someone? What’s something you need to share to prevent you from hiding?
#3 Instead of quitting, do the work.
This is the most effective way to beat imposter syndrome.
The only difference between imposter and imposter syndrome is the work. It doesn’t mean you need to become an expert to stop feeling like an imposter. But you just have to be faithful to the work.
- Do you write? You’re a real writer.
- Do you parent? You’re a real mom.
- Do you run? You’re a real runner.
- Do you sell a product or service? You’re a real entrepreneur.
- Do you show houses? You’re a real real estate agent.
- If you do the work, you tell imposter syndrome to shut up.
Spend 15 minutes doing your work.
You never want imposter syndrome to go away.Imposter syndrome is a sign you’ve stepped out of your comfort zone.
Here’s the great thing.
Use imposter syndrome to verify and celebrate that you’re doing something new and scary. Recognize imposter syndrome, thank it and keep going.