So, you feel like a phony. You fear being exposed as a fraud. Your anxiety is high as you over-prepare, over-think and over-work, so you’re not discovered as the fake you think you are.
Impostor Syndrome (IS) – when you can’t internalize your own achievements and successes. It affects men and women alike across all walks of life. The end result is constant anxiety and fear.
I’ve said it before; I’ve been there. I’ve done that. And I got out!
Feeling like a fraud or a phony doesn’t have to be an in-your-face kind of experience. For most people it shows up as a subtle voice inside your head saying things like, “Are you sure you want to try that?” “You know that didn’t work out too well for you last time you tried it.” “You don’t want to disappoint people; be sure you get it right.” “That’s a great idea, but…” You can fill in the blank there. There is always some reason our ego wants us to take a step back and rethink what we’ve set out to do.
If you have the symptoms of IS, there are a few practical ways to cope with and even eliminate this internalized phenomenon. I’ve used them all in my coaching practice and with myself, and they have worked miracles.
Recognize your accomplishments – Make a list of every accomplishment you have ever had. When I say every, I mean no matter when it took place, whether is was at the age of 6 or 46, write it down. Your accomplishments don’t need to be in chronological order – we’re talking a brainstorm of accomplishments. Write as fast as you can. Get them down on paper. Don’t judge them, rate them or critique them. If you had anything to do with a success, it is your accomplishment. Claim it!
Acknowledge what you do well – You are unique and were born with special talents. So was I. Your uniqueness will be different than mine. That’s true for everyone. Make a list of what makes you unique. What do you bring to the table that others may not? In my case, I have a unique ability to read energy and sense what is going on with others emotionally. That is just one of my superpowers. What are yours?
Realize no one is perfect – Perfection is an illusion. It doesn’t exist. So don’t chase it. Do your very best and know that your very best will vary from day to day and week to week. Never criticize yourself for things you could not have known before you knew them.
Re-frame your thinking – When you hear that little nagging voice inside your head questioning your decision or talking ugly to you, nip it in the bud. Recognize it and immediately say, “Cancel, Cancel. That is not the truth.” Then replace the negative message with a reminder of one of your past accomplishments. Dwell on that past accomplishment and feel the positive emotions associated with it. The more you practice this technique, the less often you will experience negative thinking.
Talk to someone you trust – Sometimes we just need a reminder of just how awesome we are. It’s easy to forget in the midst of the personal and global chaos of the day. Contact a trusted friend and ask them to remind you of how wonderful and kind you are. Yes, it is self-serving, but you can be that support person for them in exchange.
Stop comparing – As my friend, Brandi W. said to me last night at dinner, “Don’t compare the worst part of you to the best part of them – It doesn’t equate.” You’ll never see the worst part of someone you compare yourself to, because most people don’t display that part of their lives. You are only seeing what they want you to see. This is especially true when it comes to social media and what people post on their timelines.
Stop fighting your feelings, take control instead – It is common to pretend that the emotions of fear, self-doubt, embarrassment, inadequacy, exposure, vulnerability, anxiety, and dread don’t exist, but you and I both know that they are present and powerful. Ignoring them doesn’t make them go away. Neither does stuffing them down inside help you.
To take control and eliminate false feelings, you must first confront them. Identify the most intense emotion and choose to destroy and uncreate it. You were not born with fear, anxiety, and impostor syndrome – it is through your individual life experiences that you adopted perceptions and added emotional meaning. At any point from here, you have the power to redefine or uncreate the original interpretation and change the meaning as it relates to you.
It’s a very simple process that requires you to name the emotion and then declare that you are destroying and uncreating by speaking the phrase below. The phrase may look strange, but I assure you that it is powerful. This phrase is based on a process called Access Consciousness. I’ve modified it just a bit for our purposes.
Give it a try. But before you do, check in with yourself to identify the emotion or thought that is giving you the most trouble. For example, let’s say you have been asked to give a speech to an important group of people that you would like to leave a great impression with. Your internal conversation might be focused on, “I’ve got to get this right. I’ve got to sound professional. But I’m terrible at giving speeches. They are going to see right through me. I’m going to embarrass myself.” How high might your anxiety be? Could it be a 9 or a 10 on the scale of 0 to 10?
Here’s how you can immediately destroy and uncreate these false beliefs.
Access Consciousness (Modified Phrase)
Anywhere I’ve adopted the belief that I am not good enough to give this speech in a professional and powerful way, I choose to destroy and uncreate it across all dimensions, directions, lifetimes, levels, layers and planes, time, space, and realities now. Good, Bad, Right, Wrong, POD, POC, All nine shorts, Boys, and Beyonds.
Take a deep breath. Declare, “and so it is”. Then check in with your body to see if the intensity is still as high as it was before you started. You should notice that the emotions you were feeling previously have subsided. Repeat as necessary. This technique gets immediate results.
I hope that you will try these methods out for yourself as you work to overcome your impostor syndrome. But, you are still having difficulty identifying and releasing the limiting thoughts and emotions associated with your IS, schedule a 30 Minute Clearing session with me. In just 30-minutes I will help you clean up your false beliefs so that you can operate with the confidence of being your authentic self.