4 Ways to Move Past Imposter Syndrome (So You Can Get Your Big Work Out Into the World)
Do you ever find yourself asking:
“Who am I to do this?”
“What if they find out that this is my first time ever doing this?”
“What if they ask me something and I don’t know the answer?”
If so, you are not alone. Everybody who is stretching into something big feels this at one point or another. There’s even an official name: “Impostor Syndrome”.
Let’s talk about how we move through Impostor Syndrome so that we can create the work that we’re here to bring into the world.
Impostor Syndrome: You are in good company
When I started digging into this whole impostor syndrome thing, I was fascinated to see how many people talk about experiencing this feeling including people like Michelle Obama and Oprah. Yes, even Oprah.
One of my favorite stories that I uncovered was a story shared by author, Neil Gaiman. He was at an event gazing around a ballroom at an event filled with amazing achievers, artists, entertainers who had all created a significant impact in our culture and our world.
As Neil stood there, a slightly older gentleman turned to him and said, “Wow, what am I even doing here? I can’t believe that I’m here amidst all these people. How did I land here?”
Guess who it was…
Standing next to Neil was Neil Armstrong.
THE Neil Armstrong, people.
The first person to ever land on the moon is standing there having an impostor moment.
Clearly, we are in good company. In fact, the research shows that high achievers are the ones most likely to have impostor moments.
How do you push through that so that you can keep creating the next big thing that you’re here to do so that you can keep growing?
4 Steps to Move Past Impostor Syndrome
There’s four steps I want to share with you to overcome Impostor Syndrome so that you can put your big work out into the world.
Step 1 – Share the Feeling
The most debilitating part of impostor syndrome is that we think we are the only one experiencing it. Everyone else seems to have it all together while we are over here freaking out.
Try sharing “Hey, this is what I’m feeling.” Sharing with friends, colleagues and even with the people that you’re serving can help.
Step 2 – Focus Your Attention Outside vs Inside
The second step is to notice where your attention is focused when you are feeling this way. When we’re in the grip of Impostor Syndrome, all our attention is typically focused inward.
- Who am I to do this?
- What if they find out that I’ve never done this?
- What if I can’t do this?
- What if I’m not ready?
- What if they find out I’m a total fraud!!!
When you direct all your attention internally, this paralyzing feeling gets massively amplified. The trick is to get the attention to shift from inside of you to outside of you.
Try channeling your thoughts on how your work will help others. Stay connected to your mission to make a difference. Know that you can figure out anything that shows up as an obstacle along the way.
Step 3 – Pay Attention to Your Accomplishments
This is a clever trick many people in our community use. Create a “success board” that highlights accomplishments. Every time you look at it, you will be reminded of how many times you thought you weren’t ready to do something and you did.
Success board not your thing? You can try:
- Journaling-keep a running list of accomplishments in your notebook
- Mantra or slogan-create your own version of “just do it”
- Photos-keep strategically chosen pics on your desk to remind you of little and big wins
Find a way to say to yourself daily: “I’ve got this!”
Step 4 – Teach
Teaching is the fastest way to move out of Impostor Syndrome. When you dig in and start to share what you know with the people you want to help, you suddenly realize you know a lot.
You are likely going to find that your ideal clients are looking for a credible guide. They simply want someone who is a few steps further down the road to show them how to get to where they want to go.
Commit to showing up and helping them get there.
The faster you move into actually putting your work out there and sharing it, the faster this feeling goes away…until it shows up next time.
Let me know your strategy for moving through this. We’d love to hear it!
Cheers to doing that really big thing that you’re here to do.
When I feel this way I dive in heavy and figure out what knowledge and tools I need to get me going in the achievement direction. I tap into several mentors like you and see what you recommend. The sooner I get started the better I feel. Sometimes I can’t get to it fast enough. The problem I have is setting realistic expectations for what I am about to do. If I’m doing something big, I want a big result including financial and it often doesn’t happen then I’m really bummed. And I have to start again.
This topic was very much appreciated. Especially because it brings awareness and identification of what it is that you are/could be dealing with. I am 61 and in the process of remaking myself and discovering self-made obstacles. The solutions offered are simple and real.