Imposter syndrome…should we give it any attention?
For many, imposter syndrome is a huge weight, a huge burden, so how can you NOT give it attention?
Well, I like to give it a brief acknowledgement and maybe a little wave to give it some of the attention it is craving. Then move on.
But how do you get to that point? It goes something like this…
Ok, so I’ve noticed the imposter syndrome kicking in, but what am I actually feeling right now? Maybe it’s shame, maybe anxiety, maybe it’s fear.
Stop and feel those feelings. As Brene Brown says, shame hates being spoken about, so maybe shout out loud “I FEEL SHAME RIGHT NOW!” and let that feeling flow through your body instead of resisting it and trying to fight it.
By focusing on the exact feelings you are experiencing instead of taking on the whole weight of a ‘syndrome’ you can start to manage those feelings a whole lot better.
Now what am I thinking that’s causing me to feel that feeling? – ‘I’m not good enough’, ‘everyone else can do this better than me’, “I’ll never be able to do it” or whatever other horrible things your brain is trying to tell you!
Notice and observe those thoughts. Just observe to start with. The better you get at noticing your triggers, the better you’ll get at being able to carry on regardless.
Then gently question them. Gently remind yourself you are capable, you are enough.
Remember that everyone feels doubt and everyone feels uncomfortable. Try saying, with compassion, “nothing has gone wrong here, this is normal”.
Now, this is my favourite part…what is your experience of ‘imposter syndrome’ stopping you from doing right now? Break it down really small. Piece by piece. Dismantle the huge weight of not feeling good enough by focusing on what you actually want to achieve right now.
Maybe you’re preparing for a big presentation. Your brain might be freaking out. But there will be some concrete steps you know you need to take to deliver that presentation. Focus on that. Breathe through the discomfort, remember that it is normal…
Acknowledge the uncomfortable feelings…uncover the negative thoughts…question them gently…and then carry on regardless.
Working through the thoughts and feelings you identify as imposter syndrome does take commitment. Sometimes these steps will work better than other times. Sometimes it will all get too much, and that’s ok too.
But if you can keep going and get to the point where you can notice a trigger, feel the imposter syndrome coming and head it off with a hello and a wave instead of flying head first into fear and shame, then that my friend is everything!