Have you ever felt like an imposter?
The truth is that everyone has felt like this at one point or another throughout their lives and careers. The imposter syndrome is that voice inside your head who knows you better than anyone else in the world. It’s the voice that says “Who Do You Think You Are?” It’s that voice that lets the negativity of others into your head and begins to build truth with it. The good news is that this voice isn’t you, and it doesn’t speak for you. It is an IMPOSTER!
As with any good habit, we have to practice in order for it to take root, and combating the imposter syndrome is no exception. Perhaps the best way to combat this pesky and potentially very depressing syndrome is to be intentional about our pursuits, possess great conviction about those intentions, and have a firm grasp on the difference we want to make in the world. I suggest an intentions map to know that you are heading in the direction we want to head.
Have a look:
What is the problem I want to solve or help others solve?
- What is it that I am good at? When other seek my counsel, what is it usually about? Is there a particular topic that I’m knowledgable in that others recognize me for? Is there something that I have experienced that could help others to learn lessons more easily? This can be about most anything. Perhaps you’re gifted with organizing or decluttering. Perhaps you have a gift of discernment and can help others to find clarity in confusing times. Perhaps you have experience with finance, and others can benefit from the choices and experiences you have had. Perhaps you have worked through grief and can help others in their hours of need. Whatever your specific gifts are, your lessons don’t have to just live in your head and heart. They could potentially benefit others if that’s where you choose to use your talents.
What unique qualities or qualifications do I possess that make me certain I can help?
- What is it about you that causes others to seek your help? Do you have specific training or education that causes others to migrate in your direction? Was there a specific experience in your life that gave you a unique perspective on a topic, and you’re eager to share the results of that experience? Perhaps you are empathetic, and others migrate to you for support and understanding. This point is critical, because this is the foundation for the answer to “Who do you think you are” question. “I know who I am, and here’s why!”
What is my motivation? In other words, what’s in it for me to help?
- Why do you want to do this? Are your motives pure? Are you doing this to make money? If so, there’s nothing wrong with that, but you must be willing to be honest about it. Ulterior motives will get us found out quickly, and credibility is out the door when we’re found out. Be open. Be honest. There’s no shame in making a living. In fact, there’s great pride to be had in doing something that you love and feel led to do.
How will I measure success? How will I know that what I’m doing is working?
- When you open yourself to the possibilities that exist for you, you’ll need to know how to measure your success. You will benefit from knowing that what you’re doing is making a difference. Without feedback, it can be difficult to know you’re helping. Seek feedback. Set goals with concrete timelines and measure your progress to those goals. When you achieve a goal, set a new goal. Always be in pursuit of a goal and know how to measure your performance against those goals. This is important, because it adds to our growing confidence and gives us greater freedom from negative voices.
What will I do next?
- Always endeavor to improve your skills. Part of the beauty of this life is that we always have the potential to improve ourselves and learn new things. There really is no such thing as having “arrived” in this life. Our life, however short it may be, is a continual journey, and we need to continue to educate ourselves and further hone our skills. If we don’t improve and add to what we have, we become stagnant, and it shows. Beef up what you have to offer on a regular basis, and you’ll always have more to offer.
Finally, remember that everyone, EVERYONE, has made mistakes. Being valuable and necessary is something that belongs to all of us. No one is without imperfection, and you are not the only person who feels like an imposter sometimes (or even all the time). Refusing to forgive yourself and accept that you are entitled to a new start is giving in to that inner voice that wants to keep you down. You are every bit as entitled to a new start as every other person who has had one. You are every bit entitled to help and succeed as every other person who has and does.
If you’ve made mistakes, Confess, Apologize Sincerely, and Move On. You owe that to yourself and to the people you can help in the future. Tomorrow Begins Today.