Impostor Syndrome. The idea that you’re not really as good as everyone thinks you are and that someday, possibly soon, everybody will realize you’re just a fraud. Are you familiar with it? Maybe it pops up when you’re at work, when you aren’t really sure you deserve your job. Maybe you get that niggling feeling when you’re being complimented on being mom of the year when you barely got the kids out the door dressed. Maybe it’s what you’re trying not to blurt out when someone admires your beautiful home and perfect outfit, with the mess you’ve shoved into a closet. Most all of us have been hit by it at one time or another, when we’re pretty sure that we aren’t nearly the paragon we’re made out to be. It’s an incredibly common feeling, especially for women.
It’s also a lie.
I know it’s easy to doubt ourselves, but let’s talk about all of the reasons you should believe you are exactly who you are recognized to be. If you have to, steal one of these reasons from those people you think have missed all of your failures and mistakes. Pretend for a moment that you can believe them for real. Take a few minutes, all alone in your head, to own why you’re actually pretty awesome. Need some ideas? I’ll list a few. They won’t all fit your situation, but I’m sure you’ll find something here that rings true, or that you can come up with one yourself, as long as you’re being honest with yourself.
- Those excellent grades or scores, maybe an award or two
- You did, in fact, get all of the clutter and mess stashed away before company came over
- A coworker or fellow student is always asking you for help because of your expertise
- You and your family and friends feel truly comfortable and at home when they’re at your place
- It took you no time at all to do a complicated task that everyone else struggled with
- Your kids laughed and gave you hugs today, because they wanted to
- That challenge nobody else could figure out? You got it done
- Dinner was absolutely delicious
- You played a key role in closing a difficult deal or pleasing a cranky customer at work
Now stop right there. Don’t add the “but” I know you’re thinking about. Remember that what makes you amazing is the fact that you’ve overcome all of the things you’re hanging on to as undermining your results, not the fact that those things exist in the first place. Remember that you’ve accomplished all you have and the ragged edges you’re covering up aren’t even on the radar of anyone else. Remember that sometimes, the journey is the interesting story but the destination is what shows everything you are capable of. What you’ve gone through to get there is inspiring, and the fact that you’ve arrived? It means you. Are. Not. An. Impostor.