facing the imposter

hey friends, i really debated publishing this post. i have had this written for quite a little while because it’s something that’s been on my mind lately, so i wanted to share and hopefully get some feedback. so please pardon while we take a break from the pretty and fun content and get real for a sec.

lately, i’ve been having a real tough time at work; long hours mixed with self doubt, sprinkled in with cold unrelenting weather. i’m really feeling down and out. it’s been hard to find motivation, be inspired, create things and share ideas because i don’t believe i have anything good to share with the world. how depressing is that?!? sorry, but i wanted to share this because my dear friend recently gave me some insight on what i was feeling. it’s not necessarily depression or anxiety but something else i think a lot of people, especially in the professional area, often deal with. it’s called ‘imposter syndrome’ – a term actually coined in the 1980’s that describes people who feel inauthentic in their role and often times don’t feel they deserve recognition. some consequences of this include not speaking up and voicing your opinion, not asking for compensation and not exhibiting the type of behavior associated for leadership roles, according to this article by forbes.

this was a huge eye opener for me. what i thought was mere lack of confidence or self-esteem actually had a name! and suddenly, i felt less alone in this. so many people deal with it – even ones you might not expect

i can’t begin to express the number of days i felt miserable because i felt i had nothing to offer at work, despite various accolades and positive reinforcement. i devalue the skills i do have, even ones where i am highly proficient. on paper i know i look talented and qualified but i still feel like a fraud when it came time to actually perform. in my mind i’m thinking, i tricked all of these people into thinking i can do this job. it’s truly crippling for my ego because i get scared it will hold me back and i won’t live up to all of the dreams i have. i feel like i have so many ideas to share but they’re all floating in my head space because i’m afraid to share for fear they might not be good enough.

but in reading more about the imposter syndrome i learned there are a few things i can do to help push myself beyond this

  1. keep a success journal – this may sound cheesy but i think fundamentally it could really do some good. often times i forget about a success i may have had a work or in my personal life and dwell on something stupid i may have said, or a little mistake i made. it cancels out the good and the satisfaction of a success gets lost forever. i think making note of all of my little triumphs will remind me how intelligent and talented i really am
  2. take time to discover your unique values – everyone has something unique to offer. not everyone is a ‘type a, stand in front of a crowd and deliver a passionate pitch that makes the client applaud and cheer type’ but i don’t think those of us who might be less outspoken and maybe more task driven still can contribute a great deal to a project. i need to spend a moment and think about times where some specific successes at work were a direct or indirect result of my involvement
  3. take time to develop a relationship with yourself – it is so often said that if you don’t believe in yourself how can anyone believe in you? conviction in our own opinions and beliefs is what really makes a leader, accepting a failure as a part of life and learning from your mistake is what makes you stronger. i want to meditate on all the good things about myself, not just in ways they might be used in the workplace, and appreciate myself first with all of my good traits and flaws

i’ll digress on that point but it really felt good to share. i would truly love to hear your thoughts on this too! do you feel you have imposter syndrome? what are kinds of things that help you get past this? are there other good resources i should check out?

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