Most of the time I fell I am in the right place, doing what I love, learning and growing.
Last week, I lived an interesting experience. I was in a good mood, sitting in a room for great training, excited to learn and grow. Until this moment when I realized that I was surrounded by professionals from… the Automotive sector.
I was an imposter.
Sitting there, as a Life and Business Coach, watching slides showing how the Automotive sector has been disrupted by Carvana.
Mmmmm, right, not at all my business.
The truth is that I was literally laughing silently when I realized my misunderstanding.
I stayed, almost the whole day, and I learned so many insights about this industry, and, more globally, about how to create a great customer experience.
Why did I stay?
My younger self would have been so uncomfortable in this situation, feeling queasy. Or would have left the room to go back to my office.
I stayed. And I learned. Because it is my daily mindset. I want to learn and grow every day. I want to open my perspective. So I said to myself, why not?
During this training, I learned not just to increase my customer experience ratings but also I had new ideas and innovative ways to share my content. And I had the subject for my next newsletter: the Imposter Syndrome.
What is the Impostor Syndrome?
For me, it was similar to my situation, I was among experts from the Automotive industry looking for insights to get more leads and I was… a Life and Business Coach looking for insights to improve my digital marketing strategy.
Hopefully, in my previous jobs, I was working for a mapping website and I used to work for major manufacturing companies. And I just read an article about BlaBlaCar and Klaxit so I was able to start a conversation about how the market in Europe is different from the US. Not that bad.
I was not really an imposter. I was an intruder.
So, what is really the Impostor Syndrome?
According to Wikipedia, the Impostor Syndrome is a psychological pattern in which an individual doubts their accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud“. Despite external evidence of their competence, those experiencing this phenomenon remain convinced that they are frauds, and do not deserve all they have achieved.
This Syndrome is very common and I’m sure you already had this feeling of “I don’t deserve it. I am not in the right place. Someone is better than me.”
After my “What the hell am I doing here” experience, I looked further at this concept and I realized that it’s correlated with the “I am lucky” feeling.
A month ago, I started a newsletter titled “Are you lucky”. I didn’t finish it because my inspiration wasn’t there. Today is a good day to tell you that no, you are not lucky. If you are successful in your job, if you are in a relationship with the love of your life, if you have beautiful children, or if you traveled to many countries it is not because of LUCK it is because of YOU and the choices you made.
When I meet someone (mostly women) telling me “You know what, I was lucky. I got this opportunity, I didn’t work so much for it, I had luck.” I am furious. I want to scream at him or her – I know it sounds over-reacting – but I have this excessive reaction because I was one of these people.
I am not anymore.
I realized that what happened to me came because of my actions and thoughts.
Even my most difficult experiences.
This was the hardest part to digest when I studied the Law of Attraction. You are the leader, the captain of your life, and luck is just a small part of the good things that happened to you. When I say luck, it can be good or bad luck.
Anyway, to come back to the Impostor Syndrome, I will go deeper into the definition and share with you some tips to help you battle this.
Do you feel like an imposter? Do you believe that you don’t deserve your success?
Imagine accomplishing an amazing achievement through a great deal of effort and hard work, yet feeling like you don’t deserve the ensuing accolade. Individuals with “Impostor Syndrome” tend to suffer from a very specific self-esteem issue: The belief that they are unworthy of success.
Many high achievers feel like frauds – like they are not worthy of their success, no matter how many trophies, certificates, or accolades they’ve received. They diminish the significance of their achievements and attribute them to luck or other forces outside their control, rather than their own effort, dedication, and even intelligence. For people with impostor syndrome, their biggest fear is that people will soon discover that they are frauds and not as skilled, intelligent, or competent as they make themselves out to be.
You can have these thoughts:
I didn’t get that promotion because I earned it, I got it because I was lucky.
I didn’t get to lead that project because I had the most experience on the team—I got it because the timing worked out.
They all know. It’s only a matter of time until I’m called out. I’m a fraud.
Do this test if you want to evaluate your Impostor Syndrom.
To reassure you, if you haven’t had a moment in which you were buffeted by these sorts of fears, you’re in the minority.
Now that you know more about it, how can you stop questioning your capabilities and competence?
How to banish Imposter Syndrome and embrace everything you deserve?
There are ways to combat it! You can train yourself to quickly identify it, manage it, and live to rise again.
Try some of these tips:
- Identify what’s shaking your confidence
What is it that’s making you feel doubtful?
That spot where you’re underselling yourself is likely the root of the problem.
- Share it
Pick someone you trust to talk about your waning self-confidence. If it’s a work problem, make sure to confide in someone who isn’t your co-worker. Choose someone who sees you outside of that environment: He or she can identify when those feelings of fear are irrational and remind you of your strengths.
- Remind yourself of all of your achievements
Start an accomplishment box. Recount your most recent accomplishments. Take a look at everything you’ve achieved, and reflect on all the hard work you’ve put in to get to where you are now. Embrace the fact that you got yourself to where you are. You’ve earned your spot—your accomplishments are proof of that.
- Trust others
Remind yourself that the people who got you here are incredibly competent and they did not make a mistake. Your boss or hiring manager is not an idiot. Don’t doubt the intelligence of those who have promoted you, hired you, or offered you opportunities. They have made deliberate choices based on your experience and potential. You really do deserve to be there.
- Take risks
What would you do if you weren’t afraid?
Write it down, say it out loud, tell someone else, and do it. The worst that can happen is that it doesn’t work. So what? Do the work and keep going. Don’t let imposter syndrome derail you from what’s rightfully yours.
- Take a hard look at your language and update It
Do you say “I feel” a lot? How about using “I think” to start your sentences? Have you been pitching ideas prefaced with “It might just be me, but?”
Update your language with more confident, assertive phrases, and you’ll start to believe in what you’re saying. Assume your questions are valid, and that you’re probably not the only one to have them. Try: “I have a question—and I’m sure I’m not the only one.” Champion your ideas through a more assertive language.
- Mentor others
You have expertise to share. Share it with someone who needs it. Not only will you realize how much knowledge you really do have, but you’ll also likely uncover new strengths in the process. Mentoring can reveal skills you took for granted or mistakenly assumed came from luck. It’s empowering to know you are helping someone in his or her journey, too.
“Every time I was called on in class, I was sure that I was about to embarrass myself. Every time I took a test, I was sure that it had gone badly. And every time I didn’t embarrass myself — or even excelled — I believed that I had fooled everyone yet again. One day soon, the jig would be up … This phenomenon of capable people being plagued by self-doubt has a name — the impostor syndrome. Both men and women are susceptible to the impostor syndrome, but women tend to experience it more intensely and be more limited by it.” —Sheryl Sandberg, Lean In
Train yourself to identify your Imposter Syndrome, have fun, be grateful for what you have!
I wish you a wonderful day.