How To Turn Imposter Syndrome Into Courage

January 14

If you’ve ever felt like a fraud, worry you’ll get found out and feel like a fake, you’re in good company. 

Imposter syndrome is said to impact 80% of people, according to research from the Journal of Behavioural Science 

You can take my imposter syndrome quiz to find out if it is something you struggle with. 

That’s huge isn’t it. 80% of people 🤯 

Although it is common for men to experience imposter syndrome (including me) which I reference later, the research shows it’s likely to hit women and minority groups even harder

Why is that? 

Well, consider it from a social perspective and it makes a lot of sense. 

Humans have evolved and thrived in the world through the essential need to belong.  

Belonging is primal, fundamental to our sense of happiness and well-being and most importantly, survival.

Fast forward millions of years, and things haven’t changed. 

Your measure of belonging will be felt and observed (subconsciously) through the eyes of what’s familiar. 

Which is why, if you’re a female and/or in an underrepresented group, you’re likely to feel out of place, an ‘outsider’ and always feeling like you’re striving to fit in. 

Certainly when I speak with underrepresented groups and clients, words like exhaustion, loneliness and inferiority come to mind.

And I’m sure, many more words. 

Many studies show that you if you don’t feel like you belong, even with the most simple tasks, motivation and consistency will fade. 

That’s why the theory of Self-Determination has stood the test of time. Beyond the fundamental need for a strive towards competence and autonomy, we all need relatedness. 

You might be thinking, what causes imposter syndrome and what can we do about it? 

If you consider the theories of individual psychology, it looks at human beings in its wholeness. 

It does not see us as a machine (like a cheese or car factory) which has components parts stitched together. 

That if you fixed one part it makes the whole work (and yes, you’d probably be right if your previous and current organisation sees the world like this).

Imposter syndrome is influenced by multiple factors. The self-doubt narrative that plays out in the mind such as… 👇🏼

I don’t feel good enough

I feel like a fraud

All my success is down to luck

I am not smart enough to do this

…are a result of sociological, biological and psychological factors. 

First of all, recognise and acknowledge, this, you are not alone.

This isn’t about me and my circumstances are less than ideal than many (but we’re not playing the comparison game), but I struggled for many years with imposter syndrome. 

Through early live years, events and just having a normal human mind, being a fraud was part of the character a became in a story I lived in.

I thankfully had the support to change the way overcame it and looked at it. 

So what can we do about it? 

Well, it depends. It depends from what lens you are looking at the challenge. 

If you are a person of influence in company, organisation or brand, I’d be making a strategic priority to focus on how you promote and cultivate a sense of belonging. 

A non-negotiable, strategic aim, beyond words and rhetoric, that creates tangible action. It’s been a joy to work and support companies who are vulnerable to tackle this head on. 

There is a clearly more to it than this but the point is that organisations and brands can influence system change to minimise a sense of people feeling like an outsider. 

What if you’re an individual who feels like an imposter? 

I am going to answer this from the perspective of you being at the heart of helping yourself to harness imposter syndrome. 

Regardless of whether you are supported or unsupported in your organisation, social group or places you spend time in, taking courageous positive action starts with you. 

That is the thing we can take charge on.

Through my own personal experience and helping others who feel everything we have discussed above, you can overcome the struggle with imposter syndrome. 

Because it’s the struggle ‘with imposter syndrome’, not imposter syndrome itself, that causes the suffering. 

As I reference in my 5-step guide to overcoming imposter syndrome; high profile successful people let go of the struggle with imposter syndrome after years of struggling with it. 

Letting go of the struggle is not an easy thing to do. In fact, it is. The point of tension is awareness, acceptance for the way you feel and taking action. 

By the way, letting go doesn’t mean accepting injustices or staying silent on matters. I’m saying the opposite. 

Instead, it’s guiding your attention into working with it, embracing it and taking courageous action despite the discomfort it brings. 

It’s a compassionate way of looking at yourself, in a non-judgemental way, and owning your imposter syndrome, creating space and choosing how you want to lean into WHAT MATTERS to you and what action you want to take. 

It takes practice, some reframing and a commitment to believing that things can be different. 

But you can turn imposter syndrome into courage. 

And it’s courage that creates everything you want to be. You can create that choice right now. 

Imposter Syndrome Mindset Course 👇🏼

My next Imposter Syndrome Mindset Course starts in May 2022.

It is a course dedicated to helping you unlock your personal and professional potential. Join the waitlist now. Click on this link to check it out.

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