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The imposter syndrome among us

Updated: Jul 11, 2022

Why it’s okay to experience self-doubt

In a world full of comparison, competition, and perfectionism, self doubt and feelings of inadequacy can run wild.

The age of social media, influencer marketing, and the constant flow of highlight reels on our screens have created a culture obsessed with the successes of others. While inspirational content has the power to motivate and energise, it can also lead to feelings of lack and inadequacy.

For many of us, this shows up in the form of Imposter Syndrome - an internal experience that leads us to believe we aren’t competent or clever enough to succeed in the same way that others can.

And, it seems that everywhere you look there’s an insta-coach or TedTalk telling you to ‘overcome’ your feelings, ‘push through your overwhelm’, or (the age-old) just ‘fake it til you make it’.

The truth is, when you fight against your inner self, repress your feelings, and refuse to acknowledge your emotions, you can become stuck in a cycle of internal conflict - disconnected from who you truly are and the potential of who you could be.

The good news?

There’s a better way.

In this article, I’m sharing how you can lean in, listen, and acknowledge the voice of Imposter Syndrome - without allowing it to hold you back from your true purpose and power.

Normalising Imposter Syndrome

The first thing to address is that Imposter Syndrome is actually incredibly common.

According to a 2019 study, up to 82% of people experience symptoms. That means more than three quarters of the population are also going through a similar experience.

With this in mind, a better approach to managing the energy and emotions that come with Imposter Syndrome might be to simply accept, acknowledge, and move forward. That means no more shunning or banishing of emotions - or exhausting yourself trying to ‘conquer’ feelings that are completely normal.

Symptoms show up differently for everyone, but they could look like:

  • Feelings of inadequacy, despite evident success

  • Not feeling worthy enough to celebrate your achievements

  • Focusing on failure, rather than the opportunities to learn and grow

If this sounds familiar, it’s okay. You’re not alone.

Making friends your inner protector

Once we understand that Imposter Syndrome is okay, the next step is to make friends with it.

Oftentimes, fear comes from a place of protection and an urge to keep yourself safe.

Imposter Syndrome is like a very protective mother that wants to hold you close - sometimes it’s a bit too close, meaning ‘she’ restricts your movement and growth.

But you should recognise that every emotion comes from a place within you that loves you dearly and wants you to be safe.

A thought is just a thought

Through the experience of Imposter Syndrome, we often tell ourselves stories:

  • You can’t do that

  • You’re not good enough

  • You’re not as good as they think you are

  • You are likely to fail if you try this or do that

But a thought is just a thought. Power and authenticity comes when you stop, listen, acknowledge, and consider whether you’re actually telling yourself a story that still serves you.

Our built in safety systems and emotional responses often come from our past experiences and learned survival techniques. However, not all of them are still relevant today.

“Ask yourself: Is this story really true? And, if it is true, what’s actually possible here? Don’t get stuck in a story that doesn’t serve you.”

Deidre Dattoli | Credentialed Executive and Personal Coach

A path to exhaustion

When you get stuck in the negative thoughts or stories that come hand-in-hand with Imposter Syndrome, you risk exhaustion and complete burn out.

When you try to squash feelings of Imposter Syndrome and banish your feelings, you can end up living without authenticity.

But when you lean in, listen, and learn from your experience, you have the power to live and show up as your best and most thriving self.

And here’s the best bit.

If you’re:

  • ready to step away from feelings of overwhelm and exhaustion

  • looking for support and guidance so you can thrive, and

  • willing to lean into the possibilities of what could be

there’s a community just waiting for you.

Discover how you can tap into your inner strength and self-confidence again - and awaken your spirit.

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