What's with all the Fraudy Feelings?
And there it is, my inner imposter giving me all the fraudy feels again.
Maybe you’ve heard about imposter syndrome already but if you haven't, there’s a good chance you've experienced it at some point in your life.
The imposter syndrome phenomenon was first discovered in 1978 by a couple of clinical psychologists, Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes. As it turns out, there are a whole bunch of people out there that have convinced themselves they're 'frauds' and underserving of all the accomplishments they've worked so hard for. These are the types of people (myself included) that tell themselves and others that they've made it to where they are in life on luck, timing and connections. Imposter syndrome can also make you feel like someone's going to discover and leak your 'secret' that you're not actually as intelligent, qualified, talented or experienced as everyone thinks you are. Which is total non-sense, right!
My inner imposter started to speak up when I landed my first real job. I remember looking at the employment contract and thinking, holy s***, they want to pay me that much for doing this job? Instant anxiety ensued from then on! I worked my butt off at that job, I never missed a deadline, stayed late at the office to complete projects and always received positive feedback from my manager and colleagues (I should note that perfectionism is a manifestation of imposter syndrome…go figure!). Over time, my hard work paid off, I got a few promotions and worked my way into an entirely different department with the company. All the while, I was terrified that someone would figure me out because I made a mistake or didn't know all the answers and that I actually did have a connection that got me into the company.
Why was I so anxious about it all the time though? I was clearly successful at my job by everyone else standards, except my own I guess. I remember having conversations with my sister, telling her that I didn't feel deserving of my job and the salary that came along with it. I was sure there was someone more qualified and suitable for the position then I was and a couple years later, after many conversations like that one, I ended up resigning. It was a choice I made for many different reasons but I know for sure, my bad case of imposter syndrome was one of them.
It wasn't until I became an entrepreneur and started the dog walking business that I realized there was more to the issue then just self confidence, which is what I thought it was about. I was confident I could start a business and be successful at it, yet every time I met a new client those self-doubting thoughts would come rushing right back. I'd walk out of the meeting thinking, why would they pick me to take care of their precious pet when I know there are other companies with much more experience?
Thankfully I started to come across articles and TedTalks that brought imposter syndrome to my attention. It’s reassuring to know I'm not alone in thinking and feeling this way and I’ve also learned some helpful tricks on how to push past those thoughts. Trust me, this blog definitely wouldn't be here if I haven't learned to tame my inner imposter!
Recognize and acknowledge the imposter & self doubting thoughts! This is key, you need to know when it's happening so you can change your thought pattern. Have some confidence boosting mantras on hand that you can recite (either aloud or internally) or think about any positive feedback you've received from your boss, colleagues, clients or family and friends. Thinking different will make you feel different!
Write down your fraudy feelings (point form)! Are you having these thoughts because you feel unqualified? Maybe you could take extra courses or attend seminars that will help negate those thoughts. Or maybe you feel like you don't practice what you preach? Take your own advice and start applying it in your life, you may find you can better relate to your audience that way.
Talk about it! There's a good chance someone you know is dealing with their own inner imposter. It's been estimated that up to 70% of people have experienced this, so please talk about it. I bet you'll be surprised that some of the most successful people you know will completely understand how you feel.
Listen to Podcasts! This has been my go to lately while I'm out walking dogs. I download a few podcast episodes while at home, finding the ones that best vibe with me, and bonus, they’re FREE to listen to. There are plenty of podcasts that specifically cover imposter syndrome but the options are endless. Search any topic that peaks your interest and you’re bound to find some positive motivation to get you into your flow!
"Don't compare your beginning to someone else's middle" - Jon Acuff
These are wise words but can be really difficult to put into practice with the constant stream of social media and advertising flashing before our eyes. Maybe you started following someone on Instagram or Facebook looking for inspiration but instead all you feel is deflated and unmotivated. Stop comparing yourself and remember those people had to start out somewhere too! They took the first step, which can often be the hardest, so why can't you?
I hope these tips help you overcome those sneaky thoughts that may be holding you back. Just know when they do pop up, it must mean you’re pushing yourself beyond your comfort zone and only good things can come from that. Lean into the fear, you’re on the cusp of new exciting experiences!