Do you have feelings or worries that if you write your story people will think you’re a fraud? Do you often feel like you haven’t done enough to write a book about? These are feelings of impostor syndrome and an estimated 70% of successful people experience this in their lives…including Maya Angelou, Dr. Margaret Chan, and Michelle Obama…and me.
After publishing six best-selling books of my own and helping 86 others to date write and publish bestselling books, imposter syndrome still rears its ugly head and tries to make me feel like it’s all a fluke.
Impostor syndrome can cause you to feel that you only accomplished your goals due to luck. Maybe you think you aren’t as good as people think you are and you worry that you’ll be found out.
Research shows us that both men and women battle impostor syndrome and are unable to acknowledge and own their successes.
Five Patterns of Impostor Syndrome
According to the impostor expert Valerie Young and author of “The Secret Thoughts of Successful Women”, there are five patterns that can be found in those who suffer from this phenomenon.
- You set unrealistic goals for yourself and are often considered a perfectionist.
- You are afraid to speak up or answer questions due to fear of not knowing the answer.
- You are afraid to ask for help because you think you’ll look like a failure to others.
- You feel like a fraud if the answer doesn’t come naturally.
- You push yourself harder than your peers in order to prove yourself.
Individuals living with impostor syndrome think that things happen to them due to luck rather than their own hard work or abilities.
For those of us who are called to inspire and serve others, this is an especially dangerous phenomenon. We get trapped in a cycle of negative thinking that can hold us back from from sharing our messages and writing our books. And if we do manage to write the book, we dont fully market or publish it. We may even end up working harder than necessary, which could lead to increased feelings of failure or burnout.
Change Your Mindset, Change Your Life
If you are living with impostor syndrome you may struggle with sharing your story. Perhaps you feel that you don’t deserve the success you have achieved. If you can relate to this, then there are some suggestions on how you can fix your inner impostor.
- Change your mindset to accept your shortcomings instead of seeking a perfect outcome.
- Embrace your imperfections and learn to accept yourself the way you are. Remind yourself that you did your best.
- Keep a list of realistic goals. If you have a list of goals already then look through them with honesty.
- Believe the effort you’ve put forth regardless of the outcome. You may have worked hard towards a goal just to fall short of the desired outcome. This is an opportunity to accept the outcome and still be proud of the work you put into it.
- Create a focused goal instead of trying to divide your attention energy between unrelated topics. Be okay with having someone else work on a particular area of a task so you are free to focus on what you enjoy.
Impostor syndrome can cause the strongest and most successful individuals to feel like they are not good enough. This syndrome has a negative effect on all areas of your life. So take time to assess where you are and what you can do to move forward.
I Overcome Imposter Syndrome By Sharing My Story
Over the years, I’ve come to realize that imposter syndrome will only win if I let it. The symptoms still show up at times, but I’ve gotten much better at recognizing them and putting imposter syndrome in its place.
I do this every day by sharing my story and helping others to share theirs. The more I open up to share my experiences and what I have learned through them the more I help myself and others grow.
Listen, you don’t have to be perfect to make an impact. The truth is, your imperfections perfectly position you to reach those who need you the most.
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