Imposter syndrome seems to be everywhere at the moment – in the newspapers, the supplements and always in the women’s magazines. Interestingly I have never seen it covered in a business magazine, or a men’s magazine, but maybe it should be…. It is typically a subject associated with women, as supposedly 70% of us suffer from it. I am going to go out on a limb here and say everyone suffers from it. EVERYONE. But not everyone is prepared to own it so readily.
So what is imposter syndrome? It is basically the label attached to a feeling of not being good enough. It is likely to show up most painfully in one area of life – typically it is reported to be in relation to career, but it is also present in relationships – read romance, friendship and parenting.
The worst part about it is that people suffering from it firmly believe they are the only ones, and that can feel terribly isolating.
How do you know you have Imposter Syndrome?
There are two major symptoms of this “illness”:
- hiding away and never getting on the radar; constantly feeling unfulfilled because you’re not advancing in life or your career
- over-compensating by proving yourself – you will be on a seemingly never-ending, and exhausting mission to justify why you’re in the position you’re in, and that means you tend to over work. You work harder and longer in a desperate bid to not let anyone see any sign of “weakness”. In relationships, you either settle for the one (s) you have, filling your time up with distractions like nice restaurants and mini breaks, or you become righteous about the other person being the problem.
Both strategies are defensive and operating with an ‘away from’ motivation – from this place, all you want to do is escape the feeling that you are not good enough. The problem is – it is a self-fulfilling prophecy – the two approaches just bring you more of the same, and both are really tiring.
Women in particular, are almost predatory in anticipation of criticism, waiting to spring into action to defend, normally not to the “aggressor”, but to your partner when you get home, or to your friends over more wine than you’re willing to admit. Constantly being on guard is utterly exhausting, and when you experience overwhelm, it is really a matter of all of your energy being used up long before you even look at the things on your to do list.
The most bizarre part of the illness is the response. You feel bad, you find a label to explain what is going, and then you hit repeat and choose to experience more of the same. Why? Because it feels like you’re only two options appear remarkably similar to the two symptoms described earlier:
Hide away – give up on any chance of success and go into “what is the point?” mode
Fight another day. Work a bit harder, and a bit later. And then run away on holiday for respite, fully expeting and accepting that things will go exactly the same way on your return.
Hopefully you can see through the words on the page, if not from your own life, that this is not a fight you are going to win.
Actually the answer is to shift your focus completely. Flip your lens into focusing on what you want rather than what you don’t want any more. Only then can you look forward and see possibility, and hence more options.
Focus on what you want and imposter syndrome becomes a moot point.
Owning a syndrome is never helpful. There isn’t a single syndrome that I know of that is positive. Declaring you have imposter syndrome is going to fog the lens through which you see life, limiting your behaviour to one of the two options above. It will never help you see how your actions contribute to the things that you what. It is purely a rationale for why you are in a place that you don’t want to be in.
Women love a label. A diagnosis. An explanation for why things are the way they are. Men are more likely to keep it to themselves – this is the only reason the stats suggest imposter syndrome is more common amongst women. Purely my opinion, of course, but one I stand by.
Having new knowledge doesn’t change your experience. You must change how you see the world.
Are you ready to do something different?
Then I am going to describe a simple and practical process to get a different set of results.
Follow these guidelines and you can turn straight past the next article you see on imposter syndrome, or read it shouting these answers at it, having beaten it once and for all.
- Get clear on what you want
- Get clear on what you have to believe about yourself to get it
- Spend time and energy looking for evidence that you are this person already
- Ask for what you want and assume you will get it
- Keep asking until you do
- DO NOT SETTLE for anything less
It’s really that simple.
You may have thrown up some fog having read those steps. You may not believe it couldn’t possibly be that simple, but that is because you haven’t done step one.
Honestly, if you never progress to step two you would still be in a better position that you are right now, so just focus on that.
I have a number of women in particular that come to me for help with getting clarity on step one. If you have truly had enough of being stuck with your illness, and would like me to kick start this process with you, please book a call here: www.susieramroop.com/booking
A note of caution: I only speak to people who are serious about changing. If you want to stay focused on the problem, I am not the Coach for you. I get results, fast.
I used to be one of the many people who owned this illness. The day I realised I was choosing to suffer was the day I began to unlock my potential.
If you own imposter syndrome you have given into it. Don’t. Take the simple steps above, and see your confidence grow, and your willingness to step out of your comfort zone expand.
The only thing in your way of changing this is your viewpoint. If you are willing to change, you have the steps. If you struggle to follow them, the only thing you need then is support and accountability. I can provide this to you in a private or group setting depending on what you need. So don’t sit with it, book a call today and let’s put a stop to this repetitious pattern.