From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Impostor syndrome (also known as impostor phenomenon or fraud syndrome or the impostor experience) is a concept describing individuals who are marked by an inability to internalize their accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud”. The term was coined in 1978 by clinical psychologists Pauline R. Clance and Suzanne A. Imes. Despite external evidence of their competence, those exhibiting the syndrome remain convinced that they are frauds and do not deserve the success they have achieved. Proof of success is dismissed as luck, timing, or as a result of deceiving others into thinking they are more intelligent and competent than they believe themselves to be. While early research focused on the prevalence among high-achieving women, impostor syndrome has been found to affect both men and women, in roughly equal numbers.
As an entrepreneur, creative, small biz owner, or anyone who needs to share what they do online, you may find yourself feeling like a phony. I mean, who are you to tell people what they should be eating, how they should be exercising, or what they should be doing in their life? Who made you the expert? Don’t they know who you ARE?!
Feeling this way can cause poor communication, elevated stress levels, and ineffectiveness. It may stop you dead in your tracks in trying to get a promotion, in launching a new venture, or in expressing yourself online. (Believe me, I can feel myself having it right now as I type these words).
Despite your many accomplishments, kudos from client testimonials, or certifications framed on your wall, you may still end up feeling like you’re an impostor. This form of self-sabotage leaves you feeling like you don’t deserve to make a certain amount of money, work with certain clients, or be able to be vulnerable. Even though you know your material, you still may not feel good enough.
Ah, this feeling of enoughness that some of us struggle with. What kind of praise is ever really enough? No matter how many “likes” or shares, or positive feedback we get, how come it can take just one negative comment to send us into this impostor spiral?
When you look at websites of other people in your industry, do you find yourself feeling inadequate? Do you wish you had written a book too, or have thousands of followers, or press? If you feel it, then do something about it.
Envious of someone who’s self-published? Start writing that book now, then. All it takes is one word on the page at a time. If you want a bigger audience, you have to put in the work. It doesn’t mean you’re not good enough, just that you haven’t put forth the effort.
I was watching a YouTube video from motivational speaker, Mel Robbins on confidence building, and she talked about how you may be hardwired to sabotage yourself. Your brain can literally play tricks on you to stop you from moving forward in your life. Mel teaches an online course in this called How to Break the Habit of Self-Doubt and Build Real Confidence.
The best way to fight impostor syndrome is to build your confidence, let go of your excuses, and do the work. Keep doing the work, even when you don’t “feel like it.” Keep sharing, even if no one shares your blog post. Keep it up, even if no one signs up for your workshop.