It’s All About You
No one else can help you feel better or fix the feeling that you don’t belong. You might find it helpful to do some deep work on yourself.
Truth is an important part of discovering why you feel the way you do. Disconnecting from the part of you that believes the lies you have been telling yourself is vital. You need to believe that you are good enough and are prepared to do what you need to make that belief come true. I don’t mean faking it until you make it. Though you will begin with a leap of faith that you are good enough, little by little we will make this your reality.
Reality Check about Other People’s Opinions
Most of us who struggle with imposter syndrome worry a lot about what others think of us. You need not concern yourself with a stranger’s negativity. You can spare a moment to feel empathy for the emotional pain that causes their caustic behavior and then move on to create something amazing in your life. How much does it really matter if someone you know is judging you or your choices? Are you going to let it stop you from living your life to its fullest or stop you from fulfilling your potential?
Have you ever had a great idea that you immediately dismissed as too crazy, too expensive, too risky, too impossible? Look around you. We have driverless cars, the ability to talk to people via video for virtually free, and a million other inventions that would have seemed miraculous just a few years ago. The people behind those innovations had these ideas. They were not a different species; they were living, breathing humans like you. Instead of worrying that their ideas might not work, they were busy figuring out how they could.
No one starts out being able to do everything or anything. We all have to learn and start somewhere. When we see success, it is the culmination of weeks, months, and even years of work.
Begin by dreaming. If another human being has done it, there’s every chance you can do it too. You get what you focus on. If you are continually thinking of all the things that can go wrong, they will.
People thought the body could not handle the physical pressure of a train journey. There were fears that women traveling by train at high speed would be at risk of their uterus flying out of their bodies. Imagine if everyone had believed that. When I was a kid, we were still tying cans together to make our own pretend telephones, and the ones in houses had long cords attached. Someone somewhere dreamed of a phone that would fit easily into our pockets, follow us everywhere, and eventually take control of our lives.
Reaching your own goals and dreams rarely happens by accident. Instead, it requires intention, focus, and the willingness to be introspective.
When you wake in the morning and hear that voice, the mean-spirited, doubting, envious, hurtful, or accusatory voice that tells you you’re not good enough, you might find it useful to discover where it came from. The voice that says you can’t do something comes from many sources—friends, colleagues, parents, teachers, random strangers.
We store them at an unconscious level, deeply embedded, heard possibly decades ago, yet ultimately accepted as fact. Sometimes the source is obvious. For some of us, a cruel comment or innocent word can cause a lifetime of self-esteem issues, lost opportunities, and heartache.
Those familiar with the power of the unconscious mind will know its primary aim is to protect us because it does not want us to fail or to look like a fool. The simplest way to avoid failure is to never begin. In its primary desire to give you the best outcome, your own mind can also be the accuser. When you put yourself in the spotlight by starting a business, pursuing education, or starting a relationship, you are opening yourself to the possibility of ridicule, failure, and embarrassment. Wouldn’t it just be easier not to bother? You must continue to remember your successes, to build on them, to focus on them. You must also accept failure as a possibility, as a part of the journey, not the ultimate destination
Your accuser might not be a person. It might be an amalgam of many experiences and beliefs. It could be an observation, the sting of someone else’s failure. Passing thoughts like, “I’ll never let that happen to me” or “I would die if that happened to me” are often stored in the vault marked “Reasons I will never take a risk.” You must be vigilant, learn to recognize the signs, hear the voice, and counter it with your own positive response.
Discover Your Origin Story
Our beliefs come from somewhere. We are not born believing that we are not good enough. Discovering where our beliefs came from is a good start. For some of us, it might be obvious. When you recognize negative stories coming from your own thoughts or even said out loud, take a moment to deconstruct them.
Give yourself a few moments and think of who springs to mind when considering the negative words you hear yourself saying or thinking. If you have experienced trauma or abuse, please do this work with a therapist. One way we justify avoiding making our own decisions is by convincing ourselves that those people doing all the scary stuff will probably fail. Sometimes we even look for failures to support our unconscious argument that something won’t work.
Maybe You Just Don’t Want to Do It
A top violin player might have to practice for up to sixteen hours a day. Are you willing to give that level of commitment to achieve your dreams? When we do work that we are passionate about, it’s possible to get into a flow state and time melts away, yet success also requires hard work even if you don’t love what you do. Facing your imposter syndrome means picking apart the strands of truth that are not always clear.
Imposter syndrome is about: Not believing in yourself. Fearing that they will find you out. Believing that you are a fraud. Believing everyone is better than you. It is not making a choice not to do something that other people think you should do. How do you know the difference? Sometimes we don’t know what we want until we try it out. We might dream of a career, a hobby, a vacation, or trip and discover that it is not what we imagined or what we want to do.
We might have spent a lifetime being prepared for a certain life, never questioning whether it’s what we want. In a career or family business, it can be confusing to untangle what we want from what is expected of us. When others are involved in the decision or influence us, we might not know for sure what we want. What have you always thought you would do if there was nothing to stop you? If you were good enough?
You can do all the preparation in the world—get a mentor, hire a fitness trainer, consult experts, and read all the right books—yet if you don’t change your mindset, you are wasting your time.
We get what we focus on, and that includes all the bad stuff. If you constantly think about everything that could go wrong and all the reasons you won’t be successful, happy, and fulfilled, you will get more of that. Our unconscious minds do not understand the difference between what is real and imagined
There is a good reason successful people do affirmations and talk positively about themselves. They are programming their brain to believe the good stuff along with taking positive action. If you are in the habit of thinking negatively and have become used to the negative programming, you will need to do some extra positive reinforcement. We will use simple methods to help you reprogram and reboot your brain, so it prepares you for success. It doesn’t matter what your goal is, whether it’s education, career, relationships, or health.
To exhibit a positive, confident attitude, we need to behave as if we believe it. Behave like you mean it. Turn your negativity into a positive can-do attitude. If you don’t think you are good enough, you are unlikely to be showing other people your best side. Although there are those who are struggling on the inside and no one would know, there are also those who are making it clear they don’t have confidence in themselves. You might have to begin with a little pretending, even if it’s telling yourself that you deserve to be good enough.
What if you were switched at birth and realized that you were born into a wealthy and influential family and now you are about to get your inheritance? I bet you would think about yourself differently, walk a little taller, have higher expectations of the way others treat you. Nothing would have changed other than the story you tell yourself. It’s time to write yourself a new, improved story.