What do these amazing talents have in common: Maya Angelou, Tina Fey, Michelle Pfeiffer, Jim Carey, and Kate Winslet? They have all relayed experiencing feelings of being a fraud. The list of those who worry about being revealed as an impostor is long–and impressive. "I'd wake up in the morning before going off to a shoot, and think, I can't do this; I'm a fraud," Academy Award winning actress Kate Winslet shared.
Having the nagging voice fearing you'll be 'found out' as not being as experienced, as talented, as smart, as accomplished, or whatever- you fill in the blanks – is actually a common phenomenon. So common that many high achieving leaders feel like complete frauds, a feeling coined "Impostor Syndrome.” Researchers estimate that nearly 70% of people have suffered from these feelings at some point.
I am not immune. And truth be told you probably aren't either.
Excluding narcissists, and those with super low achievement standards, all fall prey to the self-doubt fueled by Impostor Syndrome. However, what's more important is not whether we sometimes fear embarrassment, failing, or being 'not enough', but it's the power we hand over to that voice of fear. Too often, we let that voice keep us from doing what's necessary to meet our goals, dreams, and highest aspirations.
Impostor Syndrome is located in the realm of high achievement. When the bar is set low, there's no stretch. If you relate to these feelings, then congratulations – it's a good sign you're aiming higher than mediocrity. Instead, you're probably someone who has high standards and commits to putting forth every ounce of effort, regardless of your endeavor.
How do you overcome Impostor Syndrome? Here are 3 steps to silencing that inner voice:
- Stop comparison: Theodore Roosevelt said it best, "Comparison is the thief of joy." Comparing yourself to someone else is generally comparing your worst days to someone's highlight reel, and you have no idea how hard they’ve worked and what they've been through to get where they are. In all honesty, most people are juggling and struggling, just like the rest of us. Probably not in the same way, but everyone has their own set of insecurities, challenges, and internal issues. When you fall into the trap of comparison, stop yourself- it's a road to nowhere.
- Focus on your value, not perfection: Being the best and giving your best are two different things. There is a remarkable difference in trying to be better than anyone else and trying to better yourself. Overcoming Impostor Syndrome begins with accepting yourself. You are worthy of success you've achieved and accolades you've earned by being who you are – and you don't have to attain mastery or perfection to be valuable. Reset your standards: this isn't about accepting lower standards, it's about determining a realistic level for your standards so you aren't constantly striving to feel adequate enough.
- Claim your success: Own your accomplishments and success. You didn't get to where you are by chance or luck. Many of those who deal with Impostor Syndrome tend to attribute their accomplishments and success to external factors. And, not surprisingly, women tend to do this more often than men, who are more apt to credit their successes to internal factors like hard work, brains, talent, or grit.
To help you work through silencing imposter syndrome, I made a free worksheet you can use right now! It has 3 easy steps on how to control that inner voice.
It takes courage to step out and take risks, challenges, and pursue aspirations that aren't fail safe. But when you allow doubt to dictate your choices, you close doors of potential opportunity. Discover your real potential. Because, after all, if you've ever experienced your own thoughts or feelings of, "It's only a matter of time before people realize I'm not as capable as they think I am," you're probably more brilliant than you give yourself credit!
If you've silenced your inner critic, I want to hear about it. Tell me your story.