Are you suffering from the Imposter Syndrome?
I have a confession to make, I often felt like an impostor, like a fraud in professional life.
Ok there I said it!
I guess it already started in my first job as an ICT girl with CSC. I was hired even though I didn’t know a thing about ICT. NOTHING. And what was even worse, I was sent to this big company where I was supposed to be the young IT expert. But I was not. Read my previous blog post about that story.
Honestly that felt really awkward. I felt out of place, nervous, stupid, intimidated. …. But I got out of it alive 🙂 How? I’ll tell you in a sec.
At other moments in my professional life I was confronted with that same impostor syndrome: As a consultant, I was sent off to companies in order to manage some important reorganizations, I was sent off to train people about things I barely knew about, etc… So I felt like a fraud. Luckily no one else thought I was a fraud.
I told myself that the ideal way not to feel like that is to take the matter in my own hands an start my own company. But also then, I sometimes feel a bit uncomfortable when I have to tell people what my company is all about and how I want to help other people build their personal brand and business. “Who am I to claim that authority??”.
The imposter syndrome
This is what is called the impostor syndrome. Wikipedia says: “The impostor syndrome is a psychological phenomenon in which people are unable to internalize their accomplishments. Despite external evidence of their competence, those with the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be”
Aha, now we know what it is. And don’t worry, it is said that about 70% of the population suffers from it at some point. Also people like Kate Winstlet, Mery Streep, Sheryl Sandberg, Albert Einstein…
Woohoo what a relief! I’m not alone, and you are not alone;-)
Now I must admit that I suffer less and less from the imposter syndrome because I did my very best to overcome it.
How I fight against this syndrome?
- I accepted that fear, that awkward feeling. I recognized it exists. That’s always the first step, right?
- I am convinced that I have a role in my success. It’s not all luck or chance.
- I stopped comparing myself to others too much. There’s lots of people in my area of business who have a lot of success and I am happy for them. Really. And I tell myself: I’m different, I’m unique, I am me! There is no second me. And I like that.
- I believe I have something valuable to give to “the world” (ie my target audience). Wouldn’t it be a shame or even an act of disrespect if I kept that from them?
- I accept that there are things I don’t know, things I will never know. And there are things I can decide to learn.
- I embrace positive feedback and will not try to deny it, because that way I’m hurting the other person’s judgment
- I’m trying not to let my ego be the spoilsport
- I’ve let go of perfectionism a long time ago ! Actually I don’t think I’ve ever suffered from that horrible disease: perfectionism. Brrr. 😉
- I love and thank the people who are there for me when I notice the recurrence of the imposter syndrome.
The number 1 showstopper
When building your Personal Brand the imposter syndrome might turn out to be the biggest showstopper. And that’s not good for you, nor your business, nor for your clients.
Honestly, you don’t want to be on your deathbed regretting that you spent your life holding back because you felt like a fake and a phony, do you? There is a way to achieve success despite of that feeling.
And I can help you build your brand an build your business and avoid the mistakes many make.