There seems to be a shared trait among nerds that we all tend to doubt our abilities and think we’re not good enough, even when we are particularly skilled. I know how shit imposter syndrome can be and it once held me back within my career and business but I learned to push through it.
The voice does occasionally creep in but I’ve built a toolkit for dealing with it and that’s what I want to share with you today. I want to take you through controlling your inner voice on those days when you feel like a fraud.
For most of us, imposter syndrome probably comes from pressure placed on us during our formative years. Perhaps you grew up with perfectionist parents or an overachieving sibling, or maybe you had teachers in school who piled too much pressure on you because they saw that spark of intelligence. The latter is exactly what had me hiding away playing video games during highschool.
If you can dig down into the reasons behind not feeling good enough, great! But for now, I want to look at a few things you can do to start to overcome your imposter syndrome.
What do you believe?
This can be an uncomfortable process as it makes you dig down into those beliefs you hold about yourself. Take time to explore why you don’t think you’re good enough. Is it because you think you’re not experienced enough, not intelligent enough, or not strong enough? Why? If you can uncover why you feel a certain way you can take steps to challenge those beliefs.
Think about whether those beliefs help or hinder you and try to determine if there have ever been situations where that belief isn’t true for you. Think about what others would say too, do they believe it’s true? Let’s say your best friend if they think you’re intelligent enough to do your job. Obviously, they’ll say yes. Then perhaps ask them why and I’m sure they’ll be more than willing to list off a whole heap of stuff about what you’ve done in the past.
Talk to someone
Talking about any situation where you feel like you’re not good enough isn’t weak. In fact, it’s the strongest thing you can do and shows a high level of emotional intelligence. By talking about your situation, you’ll start to build a support network of people who can help you challenge The Voice.
Look at your achievements
It’s important that you start to create a toolkit that helps you challenge any limiting beliefs. It’s not egotistical or big headed to celebrate when you do something well and you’ll become more comfortable with this, the more you do it. If you’re a gamer, start to celebrate your achievements as you play. Write down that time you hit 100% completion or came out top in a multi-player shooter five times in a row. Then start to transfer this to your life.
I tend to save screenshots of my Amazon reviews and any messages where someone has thanked me for coaching or some of my content. These reminders that I’m doing good work that helps people is more than enough to keep me going on those days where I feel down.
You might create diary entries of praise or good feedback at work. You might screenshot reviews of your work, or you might create written records or a scrapbook of times you’ve achieved something. I really like the idea of writing down achievements of all sorts on slips of paper then putting them in a jar to read later.
Find a champion
One of the turning points for me in overcoming imposter syndrome was joining a business mastermind group. I now have three champions who are happy to celebrate my successes and show me how well I’m doing. (And talk D&D.)
For you, this person might be a friend, a coach, a business person or a family member. Having someone on the outside who is able to remind you how well you’re doing is invaluable.
Practice, practice, practice
As you start to challenge your limiting beliefs, you’ll find it gets easier and easier. The more you talk yourself out of feeling like a fraud, the better you’ll get at it.
What are your excuses?
It can be really easy to listen to our internal monologues and do nothing because your brain is telling you you’re not good enough. Don’t just blindly listen. You should challenge those excuses, they’re just trying to stop you from going into a scary situation but this is how you grow and learn; by challenging yourself.
Instagram culture means we see all these positive snapshots of other people’s lives, making it so easy to compare ourselves to those people – even though you’re not seeing the whole story.
You’re not seeing the 30 previous attempts, or the work that went into creating that shot, or the editing that came after. And you definitely can’t hear their internal monologue that probably sounds a lot like yours.
Remember, you are your only competition.
This is one of my favourite techniques for tackling anythign with it comes to mental health and it’s been invaluable in helping me overcome anxiety.
Spend 20 minutes writing down all the things you believe about yourself. Even the horrible, embarrassing ones you’d never share with anyone. Why do you think you’re not good enough? Why are you a fraud? Dig deep, even if it all comes out as nonsense.
Then read it back out loud.
Getting all of it out there will help you see things from another perspective and you’ll probably realise just how much of what you believe isn’t actually true. Once you can see this, you can start to challenge those beliefs more effectively.
This isn’t a fits-all solution to overcoming imposter syndrome but it might help you start to make progress. My work as a coach, as well as my experience with my own imposter syndrome, gives me a unique perspective on this topic and I’m keen to help as many as people as possible overcome this.