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Imposter Syndrome

Overcoming Imposter Syndrome

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Do you ever feel like you don’t quite belong? Like you’re an imposter?

I regularly speak at live events – both in person and online – where I am in a room full of talented and experienced professionals.  When networking, I regularly meet exceptional people with exciting and diverse skillsets.  Many of my customers own large and extremely successful international businesses. And you know what? Sometimes I feel a little overwhelmed and like I don’t belong there, a sensation that is known as ‘Imposter Syndrome’.

Imposter syndrome is described by the Oxford English Dictionary as: “the persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s own efforts or skills”.  It’s the momentary blip when you find yourself in a room full of incredibly people and don’t feel as though you deserve to be there.  But you do. Repeat that with me, you do.

Many of us have heroes who we admire, perhaps even aspire to be like.  Think Major Tim Peake, the British Astronaut who spent 185 days on the International Space Station and who is also, quite possibly, one of the nicest people on the planet (or indeed above it).  Do you feel ‘unworthy’ or an imposter compared to him? Hopefully not! Tim Peake has a unique skillset (along with being exceptionally talented and driven, of course) that we can admire and celebrate, though unless you are an astronaut-in-training yourself, those skills are ‘other’ compared to your own, and cannot directly be compared to what you do. When the imposter syndrome pixies start causing trouble for me, that’s what I remind myself: it’s good to admire and celebrate the unique skills and talents of others, but it’s important not to compare yourself to others too closely.  Comparison is often called the thief of joy.

You have taken a unique journey and have had unique work and life experiences that have brought you to where you are today – no-one else in the world, no matter what their job title, has had the same journey.  If you are impressed by their CV or knowledge, use that as inspiration rather as a tool to berate or belittle yourself: why not consider reading up on a topic of interest, or signing up for a taster course in the subject, and using it as an opportunity for personal development?

The only way to stop feeling like an impostor is to stop thinking like an impostor.
  1. Break the silence…
  2. Separate feelings from fact…
  3. Accentuate the positive…
  4. Develop a new internal script…
  5. Visualise success.

I regularly meet people who can carry out complex coding work with their eyes closed, or who can run their business from a tropical island paradise 365 days a year (or for as many days as they actually want to work, when they aren’t swimming with turtles or drinking out of fresh coconuts). But these talented professionals don’t make my achievements any less – I am a successful, talented and kind business professional who is driven to make a positive difference in the lives of others.

And you are too. 

As this year draws to a close, celebrate your wins and banish those imposter syndrome pixies for good! Leave them behind, 2022 is YOUR year. If you want to make self belief part of your New Year’s resolution, book in for a power hour and we can talk through those mind monkeys business grow.

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