What is Imposter Syndrome And How Do I Make It Go Away?

Something I’ve often felt when entering a new job or a new field is the fear of being a fraud.

As if I were really three golden retrievers stacked up in a trench coat and someone was going to notice.

The interesting truth is that it’s pretty common and it’s completely unfounded.

Here’s everything you need to know about Imposter Syndrome:

1 – It’s totally normal.

This is part of growing as a person, learning, and stretching your abilities.

The feeling comes from not accepting your successes

Ever get a compliment and shrug it off as a fluke, or something that just happened without you really trying? Here’s where it comes from. The more you start to give yourself credit for your accomplishments and successes, instead of just environmental factors, the more you’ll build an immunity to this feeling.

2 – Friends and Family don’t always help

Research is finding that many of those who experience Imposter Syndrome come from families where achievement is highly valued and pressurized.

3 – Brace yourself for new endeavors

Imposter Syndrome also pops up in people who are at the start of a new venture. It’s going to be easier to handle this feeling when you can expect it, label it, and realize that it’s not going to last forever.

4 – Perfectionist? Procrastinator?

You guessed it, that doesn’t help either. This is a real challenge. Here’s one way I got over being a perfectionist:

  1. Realize what your goal really is
  2. Decide what you can really do to get there
  3. Make a commitment to relentless forward progress – no matter your speed.

Here are some things you can do about it:

1 – All alone?

This is no good for anyone since social relationships make such a broad impact on so many parts of our psychology. It’s no different here. Get a mentor. Actually, get 3 mentors.

If you can find 3 people in your life that you can call for a half hour, once a month, and be honest and candid with you, you’re going to have a much easier time adjusting.

2 – Realize how much you actually do.

One of the things that a mentor told me when I was experiencing this for the first time was: make a list of all the things you do. Go ahead, pop open  your notepad and work on it for a few days. You’ll be shocked at how long that list starts to get with all of your talents and successes.

3 – Be freaking nicer to yourself.

This is probably the most difficult challenge I’ve faced.

I mean, it’s those who are never satisfied who make the biggest change and impact in the world, right?

Well, maybe some of them do, but there are plenty of people who do it without this philosophy. In fact, when you think about it, never being satisfied with your progress just seems like a great way to . . . never be satisfied.

Not exactly a shortcut to happiness, is it?

Give yourself time, forgive yourself for imperfections, and talk to others who’ve been through tough times before. You’ll be amazed at what this will do for your psyche, your productivity, and your happiness.

2 Minute Action:

You have 2 minutes to do one of these things:

  • Set up a call with a mentor
  • Write down 5 good things a close friend would say about you.
  • Look yourself in the mirror and say “I forgive you for not being perfect.”

You’ve only got the rest of your life left.

Let’s go.