Many of our clients frequently question whether the success they’ve achieved is deserved. They tell us they feel like an imposter and live in fear of being found out.
Can you relate to the feeling of being worried that people will find out that you’re not as good as they thought you were? For many it’s an almost constant voice in our head telling us we’re not good enough, comparing ourselves to others and always coming out on the bottom. The more we think about it, the bigger a problem it becomes.
Since many of us don’t voice these fears it’s hard to know how prevalent they really are leading us to believe we’re alone in our insecurities. Of course, this vicious circle repeats itself because the more likely we are to think we’re the only one, the less likely we are to share it with anyone else. Yet one recent study found that 75% of executive women identified having experienced imposter syndrome at various points during their careers often at critical milestones like career changes or promotions.
It’s not just us mere mortals who have this experience. Maya Angelou, the great author said “I’ve run a game on everybody and they are going to find me out” and the hugely respected Albert Einstein described himself as “an involuntary swindler whose work didn’t deserve as much attention as it received”.
So we’re in good company and hopefully can start to see that insecure thinking is a normal human experience that almost all of us can relate to.
What happens when we entertain an insecure thought taking it as true? As we let our imagination run wild our insecurities feel both more real and more uncomfortable. We are literally fuelling our insecurities.
Yet, what happens when we get curious about the insecurity and consider what truth lies within it? We create space to see that a lot of our insecurities are based on our own imaginative projections of how we think we should be or who we believe others think we should be.
Seeing this gives us the opportunity to question our imagination and let layers of it fall away along with the pressure it’s creating within us. When this happens, our mind feels a lot clearer and we’re much more likely to open up and ask others for feedback. Maybe that sounds like ‘what’s your perspective on how I’ve been going in the role so far?’, ‘I’d love to hear what you think about how I handled that meeting” or something else but all it illustrates;
When our mind is less burdened by the weight of insecure thinking, we’re more likely to listen in, open up and take on board anything that might be helpful. Not only that but we are more able to discard anything that doesn’t feel real for us and move on without taking it personally.
What we are then left with is real clarity minus the imagination. On top of all of this I promise that each and every step in this direction helps others to do the same. As Gandhi sys “Be the change you want to see in the world”.
How to stop imposter syndrome in its tracks — Corporate Health, Workplace Wellness & Wellbeing is written by Amanda McMillan for www.wellineux.com