OVERCOMING THE IMPOSTER SYNDROME
The authenticity of your story is what gives you power. No-one can question your truth and your journey – Timothy Maurice Webster
What is imposter syndrome and why does it happen?
I think before we delve deeper into this phenomenon and try to understand it, I’d like to – upfront – give you comfort that some pretty influential people have admitted to being gripped by this syndrome. Therefore, know that it is not unusual and certainly not unique to you.
The imposter syndrome can be described as a distortion of thinking that makes people believe they’re actually incompetent, unintelligent, and lazy. They’re convinced they’re faking their way through their accomplishments, and one day, they’ll be found out – exposed as the frauds they believe themselves to be – Jordan Rosefeld (see full article here)
Why is it that it affects women the most?
Unlike men, who tend to own their success as attributable to a quality inherent in themselves, women are more likely either to project the cause of success to an external cause, such as luck; or to a temporary internal quality, such as effort. They do not necessarily equate their success with an inherent ability.
Sheryl Sandberg, in her book Lean In, mentions that internal obstacles hold women back. She says that that women keep themselves from advancing in their careers because they don’t possess the same amount of confidence and self-belief that men do. “We lower our own expectations of what we can achieve,” she writes. I agree with her wholeheartedly; notwithstanding the challenges women still face in huge parts of the world, South Africa included.
Sheryl admits that she has undermined her own accomplishments for fear that others would be turned off.
Being in corporate for 10 years, I’ve had my fair share of moments where I’ve felt under qualified to perform certain tasks; or hold certain positions. Fortunately, my husband and small circle of friends were always at my rescue when I found myself overwhelmed and plagued by self-doubt.
How can one overcome Imposter Syndrome?
Timothy Maurice, Personal Branding Expert and author, shares the following advice*:
1. Separate the past from the present. Your past is the only one dimension of who you are and it doesn’t define you. The way you apply the lessons it holds is a greater indication of your character.
2. Define what it means to be successful versus what it means connecting with and inspiring people – it’s not about appearance, credentials and labels. If you can genuinely move people towards positive change, this can’t be disputed. Frauds fail to inspire action.
3. The authenticity of your story is what gives you power. No-one can question your truth and your journey. Unpack the learning in it and apply it to the context of the environment in which you’re operating.
Instead of ruminating on inner doubts that aren’t borne out by the reality of your talents, focus on charting a worthy way forward and make 2018 a great year!
I truly appreciate Timothy Maurice, he hits the nail on the head each time!
I trust you found the above insightful and useful. I look forward to hearing your stories. Please leave your comments below, let’s engage and empower one other.
Until next time, love and light.
*Source: Destiny Magazine, December 2017 issue.