Imposter Syndrome: Is it Real
I got the job! The well wishes, gifs, and memes are rolling in one after the other. My family, friends, and extended network are all cheering for me. I am on top of the world! Then reality sets in and I crash. I crash hard. What happened?
Being honest, I did not see it coming because at this point in my career I assumed I was confident and comfortable with myself. I am an experienced leader and have transition into new roles many times. The fact of the matter is I knew better and I want to share this experience with you so that you can avoid the trap as well.
Imposter Syndrome is the feeling that you do not meet the expectations or standards of others. Or that you are not as competent everyone thinks. In a nutshell, “I am not worthy, I am not enough”.
When I achieve something great, the reflexive thing for me to do is celebrate for a brief moment and then quickly move on to figure out what I need to do to gain new skills so that I can prove that I deserved the recognition in the first place. Do you see the issue? I get recognized for the work, then I strive to prove I deserve it.
By this logic I will find myself chasing my tail like puppy that goes in circles frustrated when it doesn't get what it wants. It might be entertaining, but the payoff is not worth the effort. An approach that I would much rather explore is more deeply understanding the phenomenon of imposter syndrome and how to navigate through it with healthy strategies.
Strategy 1: Grit is Good and Inner Peace is Too
I am ambitious and I have grit. I also have to work hard at finding inner peace. A pattern that I have identified is that when I am experiencing a transition, maintenance of practices that keep me grounded take a backseat. This is catastrophic to my well-being. When I need to be grounded the most is when I am the least intentional about practicing gratitude and stillness. The natural consequence is mayhem and chaos. I push myself until I break. Solution. When you are under stress don’t abandon what works.
Strategy 2: Support
My circle of support is tight. I am working on expanding it; that is a work in progress. The support I do have are people that I can count on to be there for me through the good, bad, and the ugly. Take stock of who can support you during this process. Support also includes health professionals. Friends and family are AWESOME of course. Some concerns are best addressed by a professional and that is okay. You will thank yourself later.
Strategy 3: Self-Compassion
This strategy is hard for me to speak to. Speaking to this for me brings up the feelings of imposter all over again. I am not very forgiving of myself when I make mistakes. Yet, I have a good friend that sees me at the “grace giver”. To this day that is an attribute I am still striving to live up to. As I strive to be just that, I must start with myself. Self-compassion or the ability to be accepting and loving of oneself is of great importance. Be kind to yourself.
My hope for this article is that something written here is encouraging and of practical use for your. The gist of it all is “You are worthy. You are enough”.