Do you ever feel like what you are doing right now maybe isn’t what you should be doing? Do you find yourself continuously questioning your own WHY with every decision you make? I guess to simplify these questions, do you ever feel like an imposter.
Recently, I have really been trying to push myself creatively. I have been trying to write more, I have been trying to think more, and I have been trying to be more. While I have succeeded in challenging myself, I will also admit that it’s gotten to the point where I have found myself in a creative rut. I have been running out of thoughts that once came naturally, and I have found myself almost conforming to the beliefs of others a lot easier.
While it’s never a bad thing to push yourself mentally, physically, or creatively, it’s also important to be you. You are you and that is your greatest strength. There are going to be times where you get stuck in a creative rut or when you may feel like somewhat of an imposter, and to be completely honest, they are common to experience when you push yourself outside of your comfort zone.
In everything that we do, whether it’s the idea of starting a business, our social and economic status, the job that we work at, or even the activities that we do with our free time, it always seems as if we are more concerned with how others are going to think of us instead of how we think about ourselves.
That worry and burden that we are feeling is, indeed, imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is a psychological pattern in which one doubts one’s accomplishments and has a persistent internalized fear of being exposed as a “fraud.” The more we strive to please others and stray away from our own internal beliefs, the more we feel like an imposter.
This leads to many questions that you might find yourself asking such as, “Is this what I am meant to be doing?” or “Are these words actually me, or are they a reflection of somebody else?”
For me, the part that I struggle the most with is writing. As somebody who writes about self-improvement and mental well-being, it seems as if every topic or idea that I think about has already been thought about and written by others. As a result, I have been finding myself questioning if my ideas and beliefs are “good” enough, if others will even care about what I write, or if I am just a big fraud.
I have been forced to take a step back recently and focus on my WHY – the reason WHY I started writing in the first place. I am forced to remind myself that I didn’t start writing to change every life in the world. Instead, I starting writing as a way for me to release my thoughts while potentially creating a positive impact in the life of somebody else out there. Up to this point – as far as my why goes – I will say that I have succeeded.
Most of the time, imposter syndrome isn’t a sign that you are an, in fact, an imposter. We just use imposter syndrome as a cop-out for not having to put in the work that is required to achieve our goals. It’s a lot easier to say our ideas will never amount to anything because somebody else has already done it than it is to face the possibility of failure.
As we all know, failure to take action results in failure to ever achieve our true potential. That’s not how life is intended to be lived. And to help prevent you from experiencing this, I want to share with you some of the things that I focus on to help me overcome imposter syndrome, because no matter what, and action towards your goals goes a lot further than no action.
1. Follow you WHY.
This is probably the most important piece of advice for overcoming imposter syndrome. If you are not acting on things that align with your core beliefs, then yes, you are an imposter. If you are acting out of the desire to gain attention instead of creating an impact, this can also contribute to the thoughts that you are feeling.
But if you can say that you are full-heartedly acting on your beliefs no matter how similar your ideas and beliefs may be in comparison to those of others, then you have nothing to worry about.
The life that you are living is yours to live. Don’t let others determine the kind of life you live or the things that you do in your life. Be proud of who you, make the most out of the opportunities that matter to you, and follow your WHY.
2. Recognize the feeling.
Don’t beat yourself up for feeling like an imposter. Acknowledge how you feel. Acknowledge that little voice inside of your head that is questioning your every move. But along with acknowledging this feeling, also recognize that it’s normal. You are not alone in feeling like an imposter. At some point in our lives, everybody will feel like an imposter.
The more you try to fight that feeling off, the more it will eat at you. That’s why it’s important to acknowledge it, to pay attention to the details that are making you feel like an imposter, and then working towards overcoming these feelings. The only way to get that feeling out of your head is to let it out. Don’t hold that feeling in until it fully consumes you.
3. Reflect on the changes you have the potential to create.
One of the things that has helped me the most (and continues to help me), is to focus on all of the change that I have the potential to create and the number of lives that I have the potential and ability to impact.
I may not have all of the answers. In fact, I don’t have all the answers. What I do have, though, is my voice, and who knows, maybe my voice will resonate with others more than the voice of others.
When I struggle with feeling like an imposter, I often look at my thoughts and wonder what the purpose of them is. Would it be better to keep them to myself? Would it be better to lock them away in the back of my mind? Or would it be better to let them out and potentially change the lives of others?
In every circumstance, the latter wins. I would much rather let my thoughts and beliefs out into the world no matter how common they may be so that they could potentially make a difference in that one person’s life who needs it. But if I never release my thoughts and allow my fears to control me, then I will never be able to create an impact.
Thoughts won’t do anybody (including you) any good if they remain locked in the back of your mind. Let them out, release them to the world. That is the only way your thoughts and beliefs will ever gain the power to impact a life or to create a change.
4. Embrace your individuality.
When it comes to imposter syndrome, here’s where we all go wrong. Everybody is worried about feeling like an imposter, but when it comes time to branch out and showcase our individuality, we hesitate and often resort back to previous habits. We allow our fears to stop us from showcasing what makes us unique because we are fearful of being judged by others.
It doesn’t go both ways. You can’t expect to break the feeling of being an imposter if you aren’t willing to get over your fear of judgment and if you aren’t willing to showcase all of the amazing characteristics that make you the person who you are.
Again, you might have ideas and beliefs that are similar to others. We all do. But just because you share similarities with others does not make you an imposter. What makes you an imposter is when you allow the views and judgment of others to determine the life that you live.
5. Never stop learning.
When you have the desire to learn and to grow, that internalized fear of being exposed as a fraud will go away. Instead of seeing yourself as a fraud, you will see yourself as a student. You will look for new ways to challenge your mind, to expand on every belief, and to grow from who you are into the person you want to be.
None of these things can be said of somebody who is an imposter for an imposter is somebody who focuses solely on perfection and the acceptance of everybody around them.
What imposters fail to realize is that there is no such thing as perfection. They chase this idea of perfection but don’t realize that perfection is going to look different for everybody. Not only that, but nobody will ever be perfect. As accomplished as somebody may be, there is always going to be room for improvement. The minute that imposters quit trying to improve is the minute that they give up on ever achieving anything more than they already have.
My best piece of advice, never stop learning. Never stop learning, never stop growing, and never stop being the unique individual you were born to be. You are going to make mistakes along the way, but as long as you stay true to yourself and live the life that you want to live, you have nothing to worry about.