Nobody knows what they’re doing

March 22

Imposter Syndrome is when you feel like a fraud and constantly doubt your ability.

It shows up in many ways and a common example is moving into a new role and feeling like you’re not good enough or not qualified to do the job.

It’s very normal. So much so that it is reported that 85% of people experience imposter syndrome.

We can spot it easily in others. Super talented athletes, colleagues, or friends who constantly doubt themselves, fear failure and worry they’re going to get found out at any moment. You’re sitting there thinking, ‘how on earth can’t they see how good they are?’.

Out of our awareness

It is hard to see it in ourselves because often the thoughts and feelings of imposter syndrome are deep-rooted and show up without us realising.

In fact, in over 1000 respondents to my imposter syndrome quiz, 95% of people experience imposter syndrome, yet only 50% do not know what it is.

The single biggest factor I’ve observed when people overcome the struggle with imposter syndrome has been developing psychological awareness. It lays down the foundation for building tools to harness self-doubt and turn it into opportunity and success.

It’s the struggle with imposter syndrome that inhibits people. It’s what keep people trapped.

Trapped in a cycle of belittling themselves. Worrying people are watching them, assessing them, and judging them. The over-thinking manifests into procrastination, working harder and longer and trying to perfect tasks, so you do not get found out for being a fake.

Harness your imposter as an ally

But there is hope. When you learn the skill of letting go of the struggle, you can learn how to thrive with imposter syndrome. It becomes your ally to achieve great things. Just like these highly successful people.

And if the penny hasn’t dropped, like it didn’t for me for years, self-doubt doesn’t magically disappear.

It is a normal part of being a human being. Wired to survive and look out for danger to protect you. Think of it like this… Your inner imposter is trying to look out for you. Except, the perception of the world is quite distorted, therefore unhelpful at times.

You’re not in competition with anyone else

It tends to look at others as competition. It measures success in comparison with others. It holds others in higher regard and on pedestals. It observes others as being highly competent, ahead of the game and always in control.

When we listen to this story from the imposter’s voice, it’s not surprising we feel stupid, unintelligent, or not worthy.

But this imposter’s voice is not a reality. It’s fiction from a sophisticated storytelling being that lives within us all. You are not your imposter’s voice.

You’re not a fake. You can only measure yourself against your personal progress. You can only show up and be your true self. Try your best each day to align yourself with your authentic values.

Nobody knows what they’re doing

And here’s another reality. Nobody knows what they’re doing. Only narcissists do. You are an imposter because you’re a beginner. That does not mean you’re a liar or a fake. It’s being a student for life.

The most powerful term I’ve learnt and valued in others is ‘I don’t know’. And as you develop more knowledge, experience, and expertise, the more you realise you don’t know.

As Conan O’Brian said: “Nobody knows really what they’re doing and there’s two ways to go with that information. One is to be afraid and the other is to be liberated, and I choose to be liberated by it.”

The imposter’s voice can keep us from taking risks, making changes, or avoiding new opportunities. Or we can use it as an ally to be the person you want to be, build new habits, and create new opportunities.

It’s a choice and a skill you learn to harness.

I’m running a free webinar on how to harness your imposter voice into success. You’re welcome to join on Thursday 31st March 2022 at 12pm or 7pm GMT. Click here to join.

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