Embracing Imposter Syndrome: A Journey to Personal Growth and SuccessMar 07, 2023
I was discussing a job opportunity with my husband that would push me far beyond my comfort zone. As I weighed the pros and cons and questioned my skills and qualifications, he looked up from his iPad and said, "Oh, just embrace your imposter syndrome."
For those unfamiliar with imposter syndrome, it's when you feel like a fraud or pretender in your industry or career, often despite evidence to the contrary. It goes beyond false modesty and can hinder you from seizing great opportunities.
Imposter syndrome knows no gender boundaries. A recent study on gender feedback and responsibility revealed that while more women experience imposter syndrome, it tends to affect men more intensely, impacting their performance.
Our typical reaction when we confront limiting beliefs or thoughts is to suppress, avoid, or ignore them. We're told to "get over it" and move on. So, the suggestion to "lean in" to our weaknesses and limiting beliefs disrupted my usual thought process, at least long enough for me to playfully throw a cushion at someone's head!
After contemplating it further, maybe being encouraged to 'lean in' to our vulnerabilities, obstacles, underlying assumptions, or limiting beliefs is valuable advice.
If you've ever felt like your loved ones will discover you're a fraud or downplayed your successes, you might be suffering from imposter syndrome. You can take a quick quiz here or the Clance IP Test for a clearer understanding of your predominant traits.
By accepting our imposter syndrome or similar challenges, we have an opportunity to gently challenge these ideas in a more friendly and light-hearted manner.
Rather than admonishing myself to conquer my imposter syndrome before embracing new opportunities, I can acknowledge that my imposter self will be around for a while. When I notice it trying to dominate my thoughts, I can observe what it wants to say, laugh at situations that trigger it, and invite it to join me. I can keep moving forward without battling my own thoughts and fears.
This isn't easy; it requires self-observation, awareness of recurring thoughts, and practicing self-compassion. Embracing our weaknesses is an act of courage, so be gentle with yourself.
Let's celebrate our power, resilience, and accountability for our future.
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