Imposter syndrome is the internal feeling and belief that you are not as skilled as others perceive you to be. Our minds are always trying to keep us safe and protected. Many of these feelings of fraud and doubt lie within our subconscious. You feeling like an imposter is not a good feeling and you not feeling terrible is something worth solving. This is why we have brought you a simple method consisting in 3 steps to defeat impostor syndrome once and for all.
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- 1 What is this imposter syndrome everyone talks about?
- 2 The roots are in fear
- 3 Imposter Syndrome and the subconscious mind
- 4 Cycle of Imposter Syndrome
- 5 Impacts of imposter syndrome
- 6 Overcoming imposter syndrome
- 7 The subconscious kaizen method to transform the imposter inside your head.
- 8 Transforming the imposter inside our heads
What is this imposter syndrome everyone talks about?
Have you ever felt like a total fraud? That you’re not good enough to do your job and pretty soon people are going to figure out that you’re not qualified and that you have never been?
These thoughts and the accompanying feelings that come with these thoughts are known as imposter syndrome. Imposter syndrome is the internal feeling and belief that you are not as skilled as others perceive you to be.
What makes this syndrome quite intriguing is that it is a paradox. Normally, the people who are experiencing imposter syndrome are actually high achieving, capable individuals. In fact, in a study conducted by Pauline Rose Clance it was found that over 70% of the population experience imposter syndrome.
Impostor syndrome can apply to anyone “who isn’t able to internalize and own their successes,” says psychologist Audrey Ervin and imposter syndrome has affected some of the most successful and influential people of our times including Serena Williams, Maya Angelou, Arianna Huffington, Meryl Streep to name a few.
Why do so many successful individuals experience imposter syndrome?
The roots are in fear
Imposter syndrome stems from many things but if we follow the stems we get to the root of the cause: fear. Fear can present itself in many ways such as fear of failure or fear of rejection. On a subconscious level, in our reptilian brain, the part associated with the fight or flight response, we have an innate fear of being ostracized from the tribe. So, our brains natural response is to try and keep us safe.
Imposter Syndrome and the subconscious mind
Our minds are always trying to keep us safe and protected. Many of these feelings of fraud and doubt lie within our subconscious. This conditioning takes place when we are young and then gets embedded in the subconscious mind. This imposter syndrome conditioning takes place in the following three ways:
In today’s society, as women, we grow up in an environment where criticism and contradictions are normal. We are encouraged to second guess ourselves and doubt our own worth.
We’re told that our appearance is not what matters most. But then if we care too much about our appearance, we’re considered vain. We’re told that we should be smart, ambitious, and break glass ceilings. But if we do this, men won’t want to be with us. We’re told to be bold and confident, but if we’re too bold and say too much we’re considered aggressive. With so many contradictions, no wonder we grow up questioning ourselves! Constantly doubting our own instincts and inclinations and worrying if they are justified and how they will be perceived.
Constantly doubting our own instincts and inclinations and worrying if they are justified and how they will be perceived.
2. Family patterning
Some social conditioning may come through our family as well. Perhaps your family placed a high emphasis on education and being smart. Their intention was for you to focus on your accomplishments and not your looks, but by placing so much emphasis and worth on education they may have inadvertently set you up to be concerned if you are smart enough for the rest of your life.
Or perhaps when you were a child you never felt like your grades were good enough and this is being mirrored back to you in your current life to feelings of inadequacy. Or perhaps, you felt that your siblings were always outshining you and internalized feelings that you must achieve to succeed and be a person who is worthy. Your family most likely had the best intentions for you. But as a child you absorbed your environment and critiques and conditioned your mind that shaped the core of your values, success, and sense of accomplishment.
3. Your own self talk
All your social, cultural, and family conditioning gets internalized and then repeated back to you in your own voice and own self-critical thoughts. The thoughts that you’re not ready to start your own business. Or that you’re not good a salesperson, so you won’t end up selling anything. This is imposter syndrome – telling you that you’re not good enough or ready, even though all signs externally and even other people view you as highly ready, capable, and successful.
These thoughts and subsequent feelings that we tell ourselves can happen at any point of our lives.
Cycle of Imposter Syndrome
Now that we know the root causes of imposter syndrome let’s take a look how it perpetuates in our lives. Pauline Rose Clance, created a model called the “imposter cycle.” The cycle begins with an achievement-oriented task, which inflicts feelings such as anxiety and self-doubt.
These feelings result in either over-preparation or procrastination. When the task is completed through over-preparation an individual attributes effort to their success. If they procrastinated but still completed the task, they attribute it to luck.
This sense of accomplishment is accompanied with relief and usually a person receives positive feedback. And then imposter syndrome rears its head. The feedback received is usually written off by the person andthe person has feelings of fraud, anxiety, and self-doubt.
Impacts of imposter syndrome
Imposter syndrome doesn’t feel good. In fact, it feels terrible, at times even debilitating. You feeling like an imposter is not a good feeling and you not feeling terrible is something worth solving. The fact that you feel like an imposter is a problem worth solving.
What is more, imposter syndrome interferes in getting what you want in life. Imposter syndrome voice drives you to focus on external validation and shy away from risk and change and doing what you really want to do. For example, you feel insecure, so you don’t apply for the promotion. Or you feel like you’re not educated enough to start your own business.
With imposter syndrome, you hold yourself back in life and in doing so you undermine your own success and happiness. You’re convinced in some way (most likely subconsciously) that you don’t deserve success and happiness. You also may believe that you can’t really get what you want, so it’s not worth the leap. Why pitch that book if I’m not even considered an expert?
Overcoming imposter syndrome
Imposter syndrome does not go away on its own. Our brain keeps saying to us that once we get our next goal then we will be good enough or accomplished enough or worthy enough. But then you hit your next goal and you don’t feel any better.
There is no level of accomplishment that is going to silence the imposter in your head. The thoughts that tell you that you’re a fraud or that you’re not smart enough, good enough, that you don’t deserve your success can occur to any person at any point in their life.
There’s nothing you can change externally that will resolve these internal voices.
The subconscious kaizen method to transform the imposter inside your head.
So how can we resolve these internal voices? When you are starting to feel like someone is going to find you out and that you are a fraud, recognize that these are the imposter in your mind taking over. When you have awareness of the imposter you can use the 3 stepping stone kaizen process to help shift your thoughts.
- Write down the imposter thoughts. Perhaps the thoughts are something like, “I’m not as good as other people in sales.” Or “
- Write down (at least) three thoughts you desire to believe about yourself. These are your goal thoughts, so dream big. It could be something like “I am a successful seven figure entrepreneur.” Or “I’m a world renown thought leader.”
- Write down positive thoughts that are already true about yourself such as “I made $5,000 in sales last month” or “I’ve accomplished many things in my life such as______”. These are thoughts that are believable and ring true for you.
Transforming the imposter inside our heads
Battling imposter syndrome is something all of have battled with at one point or another. In order to beat imposter syndrome, we must transform our subconscious minds.
Changing thoughts is not difficult. But we need to be consistent in our thought practice. In order to transform the subconscious mind and imprint new patterns on it, we must have a small, daily, consistent practice. Think the new, positive thoughts for at least a small portion of your time every day.
The next time when you start feeling like an imposter, recognize it and remind yourself where this voice is coming from (conditioning from a long time ago). Reflect back on all your amazing accomplishments thus far and do the kaizen approach. By taking small action steps each day, you will condition your mind and help form a new identity – one that has no imposters. 🙂
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