Are you an imposter? Imposter syndrome was a term coined in 1978 by two psychologist, Dr. Clance and Dr. Imes. It describes the overachieving person plagued by the irrational fear of being a fake. They struggle with an intense fear that at any minute the world will discover that they don’t belong in the position they’re in. It can be debilitating and has prevented many people from attaining happiness and enjoying their own success. Did you know that you are more prone to falling into the imposter syndrome trap if you are a perfectionist or suffer from anxiety and depression?
There are many theories as to what contributes to imposter syndrome. I personally feel it boils down to one thing, not feeling like we’re enough. When we lack confidence, regardless of the reason, we get stuck in a destructive upward comparison trap. Now, upward comparison can be beneficial, and can help you identify your goals. But, it can also cause you to doubt your own ability and talent. Depending on your tendencies you will do one of two things, you could spiral downhill until your reputation is in alignment with your perception of who you feel you really are. Or, you could be the type of person who looks to role models for guidance. Oftentimes, when we’re stepping into a new role we compare ourselves to the people we admire that are currently successful in that role. We put these people on pedestals and assume that they’re so much better than us. So we start to try and emulate them and try to make ourselves a photocopy of them. Why? Because that feeling of being a fake can be crushing. So, we go out our way to make ourselves appear as much like them as possible.
Fake It Til You Make It
Ultimately, you adopt a “fake it til you make it” mentality. The problem with “fake it til you make it” is when you’re suffering from imposter syndrome, you don’t feel like you can ever make it. That’s a big problem! Not only does the whole “fake it til you make it” not work if you don’t believe you can make it, but then we start doing things like buying all the material things we associate with that person so that we can “look” the part. We assume that if we at least look the part then maybe we won’t get caught. The problem is when we do all of these things we’re just digging ourselves deeper into the imposter syndrome trap.
By copying someone else, we are creating a discordance within ourselves because all of these things aren’t in alignment with our inner truth. So, we feel even more out of place and fake. We literally turn ourselves into an imposter. In reality, it wasn’t even that person’s appearance or possessions that you admired in the first place. You might like those things too, but they’re not what you’re really trying to emulate. You just don’t know exactly what it is that you’re trying to emulate so you start grasping at straws.
The real question is how do you figure out what it is about another person that you admire so you can emulate those things and skip the things that stir up those imposter feelings? We all want to get to our goal faster with less wasted time and money along the way. And yes, reaching your goals will require an investment of your time and money, but that doesn’t mean you need to flounder along the way. So I’ve created a four step system to help you figure out exactly what traits you want to instill in yourself so that you can move away form the imposter syndrome and closer to becoming the person you desire to be.
5. Steps To Annihilate The Imposter Syndrome
Step 1. Make a list of all the people you admire
Step 2. For each person on your list, make a separate list of all the things you admire/like about them. And, I do mean write it all down. Write down the clothes, cars, confidence, eloquence, time management, story telling skills, beauty, jewelry, house, charisma, poise, sex appeal…whatever it may be that you like about them. Write it down. Even though we’re not going to copy the material possessions, writing those things down will help you really figure out whether this person is someone you truly want to emulate or just someone you think is pretty and you like their style. Because if we’re really honest, there are plenty of people in this world we find attractive that we don’t necessarily want to be like.
Step 3. Go through your list and highlight the actual personality traits that you’ve identified that you admire.
Step 4. The next step is to make a new list of the situations you’ve been in where you’ve demonstrated those same traits. Whether it was one time or many, write it down. Oftentimes, the traits we admire in others are traits that we already posses. You just need to learn to acknowledge them so that you can polish them. Because you, my love, are just a diamond in the rough 😘
Step 5. The final step is to continue to journal every success along your way. By recording your successes you’ll have a written record to refer back to when that dreaded imposter syndrome creeps back up again. Make sure each entry contains what happened, and what you did.
How to Polish Your Inner Diamond?
Start putting yourself in situations that will force you out of your comfort zone. You will be amazed at how capable you are when you have to be. Then, continue following step 5. With each success, write it down. It’ll act as collection of all your wins. If you can visually see your wins, you’re less likely to attribute your success to an outside source. You see, it’s easy for our own strengths to go unnoticed when we have low self-esteem. We attribute our success to luck or someone else’s intervention. But, that record is your antidote. Secondly, utilize daily affirmations. Affirmations are powerful. So, make a list of the traits you aspire to have. Then everyday, I want you to say them in the form “I am…”. I’ve mentioned this before, your conscious cannot distinguish between true or false, it only believes what you tell it. So, tell it what you need it to believe. At first, it will feel awkward and false, but stick with it. Before you know it, you will believe it too.