I’ve always struggled with imposter syndrome, even before I knew it was actually a thing.
Since learning it is indeed a thing – that many of us have internal beliefs of unworthiness, second guess ourselves and sometimes feel like a fraud – I’ve been able to overcome imposter syndrome by having a better understanding of my behaviors, mindsets and personality and discovering what works for me to pull myself up out of the syndrome’s slump into a champion state.
I’m sure we all experience imposter syndrome to some degree. It may flare up at different stages in our lives, at different times of the day, in the midst of different circumstances. I like how Mindful describes imposter syndrome in this article.
When I experience imposter syndrome, it appears as the critic inside my mind, the little gremlin that’s shouting, “Who do you think you are to feel worthy of this?” Or “Do you really think you’ll succeed?” There’s also, “You shouldn’t be allowed to set goals/pursue your dreams/live life the way you want to live your life.”
Recently, my imposter syndrome flared up in a raging pit of fire on the first day I arrived in Nashville for Christy Wright’s Business Boutique event.
A friend and I had been planning this trip for months. I was pumped about going and proud of myself for embracing the opportunity because it’s not something this introverted, home-body mama would typically seek out but I felt in my heart it was a leap I needed to take.
See more about my Nashville trip on Instagram.
We had been traveling for half of a day, navigating airports, crowds of people and new places. Simply being surrounded by all the people and the hustle and bustle was enough to wear me out so by the time we arrived at our resort, checked in, grabbed dinner and headed back out to attend the pre-conference Dave Barnes concert with 3,000+ other women, I was beat.
In the middle of the concert, my wheels began spinning. I started thinking about how far away from home I was, the four days and nights ahead that I would be away from Little E and The Farmer, the work for my day job I felt I was neglecting and again – all. the. people.
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Anyway, as I sat in the massive Cornerstone church in Nashville surrounded by thousands of other motivated and successful women, Dave Barnes started telling a story about his family and proceeded to sing a heart-felt ballad that would make any toddler mama’s heart melt and I was just about ready to lose it.
I’m talking big, ugly cry, have-to-step-out-of-the-room-to-pull-myself-together lose it. In that moment, I wasn’t sure how I’d ever be able to make it through the next few days of the conference and retain anything let alone enjoy my experience in one of my bucket list cities.
But I paused. Took a breath. And remembered that I was there, in that space, at that moment, surrounded by all of those incredible women for a reason.
I deserved to be there. I was worthy of being there.
I am worthy.
That’s a mantra I’ve embraced and one that is a helpful tool when my imposter syndrome starts to take over my optimism and sense of self-worth.
I wasn’t going to let my inner critic and imposter syndrome get the better of me. I needed my optimism, my ideas, my heart and my drive to make the absolute most of this experience I had the opportunity to take part in.
I was able to overcome imposter syndrome in that overwhelming moment considering these things:
RELATED: 12 Reminders to Rise Above
How to Identify and Overcome Imposter Syndrome:
Your inner critics and imposter syndrome can weasel into the most joyful and exciting times if your energy is drained. If you’re physically or emotionally exhausted, if you’re suffering from decision fatigue, if you haven’t been sleeping well.
I recognized that my energy was low that first evening in Nashville, particularly from all the travel and being surrounded by gobs of people, which was helpful in knowing that those doubtful and demeaning thoughts I was having were simply not the truth. It was just my critic kicking in.
Get some rest. Drink some water. Pray or meditate. Journal or put on some feel-good music. Cut out the sweets or carbs or whatever kind of foods you know diminish your energy. Give yourself permission and do whatever you need to do to rejuvenate.
Your imposter syndrome may flare up when you’re alone or when you’re surrounded by thousands of people. It may be more prevalent on cloudy, dreary days. Maybe is appears when you’re about to make a difficult decision or when you’re in an uncomfortable situation.
My imposter syndrome is tricky. It will sometimes appear when I’m in an overwhelmingly large crowd, like when I was at Business Boutique, and it can also pop up when I’m alone, particularly when it’s getting late, I’m getting ready for bed and my worry-wheel kicks in.
Find a space to go where you’re comfortable if you can. Step outside for some fresh air. Find some silence in a lobby area. Sometimes, retreating to whatever kind of environment that brings you positive vibes isn’t always an immediate option so focus on something in your current environment that brings you back into your empowered champion state. Maybe it’s the people you’re with or the music that’s playing or another positive anchor.
Anchors may be a quote or bible verse, a person or a possession. Much like the fears and doubts that spark your imposter syndrome in the first place, anchors can quickly help shift your mindset to a state of empowerment and positivity.
One of my mantras I mentioned above, “I am worthy,” serves as one of my anchors. The symbol of a firework also serves an an anchor of the bright, radiant light that each and every one of us possesses, a light that we all need to share with the world (hence Fireworks & Leftovers). A fireworks symbol reminds me to be brave in uncomfortable situations and to share grace, compassion and inclusion.
Determine what your anchor is and find a way to always have it with you. Memorize the quote or bible verse or carry a journal with it jotted inside, wear a necklace or get a tattoo that symbolizes your anchor, surround yourself with people you trust and who inspire you to be your best self.
You may experience a different type of imposter syndrome than the person next to you and that may be largely due to different personalities. One person’s imposter syndrome may hinder them from acting on their ideas, regardless of how brilliant they are. Another person’s imposter syndrome may make it difficult for them to acknowledge their own success or accept praise from others. This article from Fast Company describes five types of imposter syndrome which I found to be quite interesting.
I know I’m an introvert. I don’t declare it like it’s a bad thing. It’s simply who I am. Large volumes of people, new places and continuously moving from one thing to another throughout the day wears me down. I recognize that about myself so when doubts, fears and my imposter syndrome take control, I know I simply need to make time for myself to process my thoughts and recharge.
Here’s the thing…you don’t need to overcome your personality, you simply need to give yourself some grace and just be the true you. There will be nothing to regret or fear if you’re living your life authentically.
How or when does your imposter syndrome show up and how you do overcome it?