Three simple steps to conquer Imposter Syndrome.

In these last few months, I have had countless women reach out to me and tell me how much they love what I’m doing, appreciate my honest writing and have been so gracious to extend some {super nice} compliments to me.

Sounds pretty great, right?

I agree. It should be. But here’s the caveat. I didn’t fully believe them. And it’s not that they weren’t believable compliments… it’s just that I didn’t think I deserved them.

Who am I to start a blog? Who am I to give women advice on what I’ve learned in my short lifetime of experiences so far? What if people don’t want to hear what I have to say?

These thoughts plus many more have been creeping up lately when I sit down to write. Which is honestly why I skipped last week’s post. Because as I was writing, I felt like a total fraud. I didn’t think what I was writing about would make a difference. I felt off. So I decided to give myself a week to regroup.

And then this last Monday rolled around. Post Day. But yet those feelings were still there. I felt guilty because I didn’t post anything last week, but yet still had the thoughts of, “Well maybe no one will even notice…”

This isn’t the first time thoughts like these have paralyzed me or held me back from going after a dream. It has shown up in many ways and many different forms in my life. Job interviews. College. Getting into Real Estate. You name it.

But because I knew where I wanted to go with this blog, because I knew I had women out there that needed to hear my experiences, and because I knew if I didn’t write anything, it wasn’t helping anyone.

So I decided to try and make sense of what was going on and dig into tools that I knew could shed some light.

I was heading to a showing and had a good chunk of driving time to get there and I turned on my Podcast App. Something in my gut told me to check out new episodes on The Art Of Charm {It’s one of the main podcasts I’ve enjoyed over the last few years}.

And as I was scrolling through the Episode list to see if any topic caught my eye… An episode on Imposter Syndrome showed up. Here’s the episode, you gotta check it out (when you’re done reading the rest of this post, that is! 😉 )

I’ve heard of this term before but I hadn’t done much research on the topic. So I thought why not. This sounds like it would be an episode that could shine a light on what’s really been going on.

And thankfully – it did just that.

It totally opened my eyes to something that has been going on for years. I learned that Imposter Syndrome is actually more common than some of you might think. It’s like my post about fear, Imposter Syndrome is a mask. We weren’t born with masks. We put them on over time. So it’s important to understand we can take them off.

After a whole lot of research, here are some of the steps I’m going to take to conquer Imposter Syndrome:

1. Understand What’s Happening

“It’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are
not.”
― Denis Waitley

Imposter Syndrome shows up as feeling unworthy, not feeling smart enough, not feeling like you’re capable of what’s at hand, not feeling like you should be heard. See the common word used here? Feeling.

There’s usually no evidence or validation behind these feelings. Imposter Syndrome is just that; Just. A. Feeling.

When you start to have the feelings of inadequacy or lack, ask yourself if those self accusations are actually true. Because most of the time, they aren’t. It’s something we make up. To protect ourselves from risk. From exposure. From being “found out.”

A crucial step in most obstacles we face and want to overcome is to have the deep understanding of what we’re experiencing and why.

Understand that facing Imposter Syndrome head on can be a bit intimidating. You’re looking at the thoughts that have most likely surfaced many different times throughout your life and have caused you pain. Maybe some things that you’ve said to yourself time and time again, look a lot like this…

“I’m not ____ enough to do ____”… “There’s no way I will ever be able to do what she does.”… “I guess it’s just not meant to be.”

You’re not alone. Be open to learning more about yourself and what makes you tick. Learn the patterns and cycles that may cause these feelings to rise up.

Learning to overcome this is going to be a process. Anything worth accomplishing, usually is. Do research. Read other people’s experiences with Imposter Syndrome. Connect the dots in your own life. And just learn.

2. Quit Comparing Yourself To Others

“comparison is an act of violence against the self.”― Iyanla Vanzant

We often don’t get to see the beginning of someone’s success story. The failures, the struggle, the lost investments, the hurt and pain.

It’s difficult for myself {and a whole heap of others} to not fall into the deep, dark, bottomless pit of comparing our beginning to someone else’s middle or end. Especially with the social media world… showcasing everyone’s talents and successes, it’s even harder to not ask yourself “Well, we’re doing the same thing, but why am I not where they are?”

You have to believe and understand they started differently than you. Even if they started at the same time, their circumstances are different than yours.

It’s okay to use people as examples to follow. But what is not okay is to make excuses as to why you don’t deserve what they have.

You just need to keep your head down and learn to be confident with where you’re at and keep pushing forward.

3. Take Consistent Action

“Focus on the value you bring; not on attaining perfection”― Margie Warrell

Everyone started somewhere. Even Oprah and Bill Gates. They started at ground zero. They weren’t born an expert. But over time, they honed their skills and research and continued to share with the world what they were learning as they were learning it.

They didn’t wait until it was the “right time”. They didn’t wait for the acceptance of others. They failed. They learned. They grew. They didn’t wait for it to be perfect. They just went for it.

In order to take action, perfectionism needs to go out the window.

And believe me. I totally get it. I’m one of the many perfectionists in the world. I feel like what I’m working on has to be ready and perfect before I show the world. I feel like if it’s not perfect, people will judge me and say “Who are you to put that out there?”

And don’t get me wrong, there’s always naysayers in every corner, but the majority of the people will not be saying that.

Oprah and Brené Brown HIT IT ON THE HEAD with this short video about perfectionism.

Perfectionism is tough to overcome. And that’s going to be another topic, another day.

But if there’s one thing you should take away from this post it’s this…

It doesn’t have to be perfect to be valuable.

So take action. Every day. It’s impossible for Impostor Syndrome to survive when you’re consistently taking action.

Remove those masks. Show off your gifts and talents and teach what you’re learning and what you’ve experienced. Have no shame. Don’t be weighed down with regrets.

Vow to be messy in your pursuit. Break the chains of perfectionism and doubt. And show up every single day, as your unapologetic self. Because that, in itself, is so beautiful and perfect.

every creature has its rightful place, and in that place it becomes beautiful.

Love and lifelong learning,

Leah

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