Imposter syndrome - it sucks right? I'm sure that all of us have experienced it at some point in our lives and it can stop us from progressing in our endeavours for fear of not being good enough.
I wanted to share a tools and skills that you may be able to implement next time you feel imposter syndrome sneaking in...
Firstly, what is imposter syndrome?
In a nut shell, it is a feeling that you are not good enough, that you are not as competent or qualified as others perceive you to be.
This is all about mindset though. It is something that you impose on yourself, maybe if you are lacking confidence in your ability because you are new to something you start to tell yourself that you aren't qualified to push for that job or deliver that course or speak about that topic.
Maybe you have been burnt in the past and you don't want to risk feeling that again. Whatever is causing you to feel that way is valid BUT the validity of that feeling is questionable.
What you are telling yourself is probably not true! You need to separate the feeling from the facts.
You need to separate the feeling from the facts
Little fish in a big pond
As you grow in your field and your skillset increases, it is likely that you will encounter imposter syndrome more and more. You will be surrounded by more experienced people, higher responsibility, greater risks or more pressure. However, if you flip your mindset, this could be a really positive result of the fact that you are progressing in your endeavours. You are the small fish in a bigger pond, but there is space for you to grow into that pond and you deserve to be there otherwise you would never have made it into that pond in the first place.
As you progress, you step into a bigger pond
Unresolved or deeper issues
Very often when imposter syndrome kicks in, it is not because you are not worth it or competent enough, it is because an unresolved issue has reared its head and THAT'S what needs addressing. Maybe you are a perfectionist and the thought of not maintaining this is terrifying so you don't put yourself forward for fear that you aren't perfect yet, but perfectionism is an impossible task, so focus on progressing instead.
Maybe you're feeling less than adequate because you aren't receiving validation and that's something you need in order to feel worthy of your position. Again, this doesn't mean that you are unworthy, not at all, it means that you don't yet believe in your own self worth. This is something that can be worked on though, so don't fret if this resonates with you!
Perfect is impossible, so focus on progress
Ask for help
Sometimes we feel that we need to have all the answers otherwise our cover will be blown and everyone will know that we were never qualified or competent enough to be where we are. Again, this is so far from the truth. No one has all the answers, and the good news is, you can always be learning. There is NOTHING wrong with asking for help. People love talking about themselves and love to feel important so if you were to approach someone and say "I am inspired by your story, you seem to have so much knowledge in this area, I would be so grateful if you could tell me how you did 'X'." I bet you will get some very willing help.
It also means that you are then more likely to put that help back out there to the world for others to benefit from too. By being brave enough to take the first step, you have inadvertently started a very positive cycle of perpetual helping and knowledge sharing.
You can always keep learning
Finally, compare yourself to where you were a year ago. Doesn't that make you realise that you have come so far and you do deserve to be where you are?
Stop comparing yourself to others, there will always be people who are more qualified, experienced or knowledgeable than you BUT you are more qualified, experienced and knowledgeable now than you were a year ago. So keep progressing, keep taking those steps and keep going!