Imposter!

No matter how successful you are, you’re sweating it out, just waiting for someone to catch you. For someone to figure you out. Your self-doubt consumes you, and despite your track record of achievement, you’re convinced that it was all just luck. You’re constantly on edge and work yourself twice as hard as anyone else just to make up for your self-perceived inadequacies.
 
Sound at all familiar? About 70% of Americans have experienced it. This, my dear friends, is called the imposter syndrome.



If you’ve been following the blog for a while, you know every now and then we like to throw you a curve ball and have some real talk. Lately I’ve been thinking a lot about the imposter syndrome and what it can mean for us in all aspects of our lives. Whether you’re starting a new job, just got a promotion, entering a new relationship, going back to school, or finding yourself in social settings you feel you don’t belong in, the imposter syndrome is likely to strike.



Maybe your upbringing was filled with family hardships. Now, you may feel like you don’t deserve your current success or social acceptance, or that it may never be enough. Maybe your upbringing was incredibly comfortable. Now, you may have a hard time crediting yourself with any of your past or current achievements, belittling your own capabilities. Whatever the case or reason may be, the same sense of insecurity is there. The dangerous part is that if we don’t manage the feelings that can manifest as a result of the imposter syndrome, they can be detrimental to our careers, relationships, and wellbeing.

Think about it, a boss with the imposter syndrome may not ask for help with anything because she thinks it’ll blow her cover and make her coworkers realize she’s not competent enough for the job. A significant other with the imposter syndrome might put up walls and not be able to truly be herself with her partner. And the constant acting will take its toll on anyone.



So what’s really going on here? I think the underlying issue is that we often struggle to be vulnerable. In fact, I think that being able to express vulnerability could be the antidote to the imposter syndrome. If we all put on fronts, pretend we have everything figured out, and show no sign of vulnerability, it perpetuates the expectation of having to be perfect…aka an imposter. It’s easy to forget that we all bleed.



In fact, in Brené Brown’s famous TED Talk, she explains her research where she found that vulnerability is the differentiating factor between people who feel worthy of love and acceptance and people who don’t. I’m not saying you shouldn’t have confidence in yourself, but there’s something to be said for having the courage to openly admit when you’re feeling shaky. 

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The next time you feel a bout of the imposter syndrome coming on, remember that it’s okay to talk about it. In fact, being vulnerable will give others the permission to do the same. We don’t have to be imposters anymore 😊. 


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