Read This The Next Time YOU FEEL LIKE AN Imposter
That little voice in your head that tells you you're just a big fraud.
That it's only a matter of time before everyone finds you out.
That really, you're just not good enough.
It's toxic like an arsenic enema, and it's one of the things that we all sometimes suffer with.
WHAT IMPOSTER SYNDROME Takes from you...
Imposter syndrome tells you stories about not being good enough and makes you feel like something that you want to scrape off the bottom of your shoe.
It takes away your ability to step up and show up.
It takes away any sense that you're already capable.
And it takes away the trust you have in yourself.
If you let it, Imposter Syndrome will box you into a small life you never wanted, so let's do something about it.
Introducing my TRUST model...
I've built a model to deal with imposter syndrome whenever and wherever it strikes. Built from 5 clear strategies, I call it TRUST.
It's pretty simple, so let’s run you through it so you know what to do the next time Imposter Syndrome tries to call the shots.
You have a hard time giving yourself credit for how far you've come. I get that. I'm talking about how you think other people have more experience and more skills than you. I'm talking about that voice in your head that tells you that you're gifts and talents aren't all that special. And I'm talking about how awkward it is for you to acknowledge just how damn capable you are.
All the time you're not seeing what it is you have, you're giving Imposter Syndrome all the power.
Taking stock of your skills, talents, strengths and achievements is sensible. It doesn't make you narcissistic and it doesn't make you a bad person. It's just a case of openly and honestly looking at the things you have to offer, every minute of every day, and saying "Huh, I'm better than I sometimes give myself credit for."
But more than just itemising what you've got, taking stock is really about seeing yourself as worthy, valuable and whole.
Get pen and paper, or spark up a blank document. Write down 20 achievements—things in your personal life and professional life you've achieved, milestones you've hit or things you're proud of. Write down at least 10 strengths—things you're able to apply in a given moment that help you. And write down at least 10 talents—those things you've always been able to do naturally, without even thinking about it.
Those things are just the tip of the iceberg. What do those things mean for you, or to you?
Do you look at a colleague or friend and feel like you're being left behind? Do you sometimes see someone bounding ahead in their career and wonder when it's going to be your turn? Or do you feel like other people have better, richer lives compared to you?
Comparison is dumb like that, and comparison is what breathes life into Imposter Syndrome.
It's easy to look at other people and make assumptions based on the outward appearance of their lives. And when you compare those perceptions with the worst fears about yourself, is it any wonder that you come out feeling like an imposter or a fraud?
You don't need to compare yourself to anyone. You're doing great. Keep doing you.
For the next 2 weeks, start noticing when you compare yourself to other people. Don't push it away or judge yourself for making the comparison, just spot when you do it, and say, "Oh look, I'm doing that comparison thing Steve talked about."
Then, having noticed the comparison, ask yourself how that comparison serves you or how it helps you.
Let me tell you a secret. I'm just making it up as I go along.
Sure, I've learned heaps and have some smarts. But I don't know what's going to happen any more than the next guy. I'm just doing my best here.
We're all just making it up, because none of us have been here before. Life is unrehearsed. You haven't done it all. You haven't solved every problem. You haven't beaten every challenge. You haven't answered every question.
Don't think for a second that not having all the answers somehow makes you a fraud.
Improvisation is part of an unrehearsed life, and your ability to improvise based on everything you've learned up to this point makes you more than a match for anything.
Think about the most joyful, wonderful, flowing moments in your life. The moments that were most rewarding, or the ones when you felt at your best.
How many of those moments were unrehearsed?
What do you think that means?
For the sake of convenience, let's split all the stuff in your life into different areas.
You have your identity, for example, your sense of "you". There's your body and physical health. Your close relationships. Your wider network. Your finances. Your work. Your spirituality, and a few more spaces besides.
You might only feel like an imposter in your work. Perhaps it happens for you around finances. Or maybe it's in your wider network of relationships where you feel life a fraud.
Notice how you can feel like an imposter or a fraud in one space, while feeling perfectly fine everywhere else? This is great news, because it means you're not actually an imposter or fraud. It means it's simply down to how you're relating to that part of your life.
Remember this, you're not an imposter or a fraud, Imposter Syndrome is just a flag to remind you that there's a better way to relate to one part of your life.
What's different in how you approach or think about the spaces where you get Imposter Syndrome and the spaces where you don't?
What assumptions are you making that you don't need to be making?
Your brain is amazing when it comes to creating thoughts. It does that all day long, every day. It's a thought machine.
Sometimes these thoughts are pretty great, telling you things like how excited you are, or how cool it's going to be, or how much fun you're having. Other times these thoughts are nothing more than fiction, wondering what if it all goes wrong, or what it you screw it up, or what if you're not good enough.
The stories you tell create your truth, even if you're not aware that these tales are being told. A story about being a big ol' fake will make you feel like a big ol' fake, and that feeling will urge you to hide so nobody finds you out.
So stop telling stories based on your worst fears about yourself and start telling stories that lift, support and empower.
What stories do you tell yourself that support Imposter Syndrome rather than supporting you? A story might start, "When I'm down, I wonder if...", or "I worry that..." or "Sometimes I think I'll never...".
From that starting point, the story will then build. Then what happens is... Then I start thinking... Then I tend to... See how your story starts and how it plays out. Get to know it a little bit.
How do you feel about the story you've been telling yourself?
You're not an Imposter...
A thought about being a fraud, not wanting to be found out or not being good enough no more makes you an imposter than a thought about a delicious caesar salad makes you a crouton.
You're not an imposter. You never will be.
You're a human. You're imperfect. You're a work in progress. You're fallible. You're also full of wonders. Full of possibility. Full of things that matter.
That all counts for something.
Because it means you're already enough.