Who am I? The truth about "Imposter Syndrome"
Have you ever had an idea or task that you were excited to dive into head first because you finally "figured it out," only to be crushed moments later by negative self-talk?
I have. We all have.
More specifically, have you ever asked the question, "who am I," or, "who am I to share?", or, "why would anyone listen to me?".
All of these questions are a result of what I have learned is referred to as "Imposter Syndrome." Okay before you stop reading because you think I am using my psychology background to slap you with some kind of made up diagnoses, just wait for a second and listen up.
I read a lot of books, I follow a lot of influencers, and I learn from some of the best entrepreneurs and thought leaders that exist on our planet. What I have learned is this; everyone has a moment of feeling like they are a fraud or an imposter or any other label they choose to place on themselves for why they are not good enough to achieve their goals and live what they dream.
In a world where social media is so prevalent, it is so easy to get caught up in what other people are doing, what others are offering, and why they are better than you. It is so easy to think of yourself as someone "less worthy" or "less knowledgeable."
If success isn't happening fast enough, we often feel shame and automatically compare ourselves to those who are proving to be successful in their endeavors. The truth is, we often compare our chapter one or two, to someone else's chapter 20 or 30. Sometimes we don't even realize we are doing it. We forget to consider the amount of work they had to have put in to get to where they are, and the reality is; maybe we just haven't put in that work yet.
DO NOT GET CAUGHT IN THAT TRAP.
I am guilty of all of this too and wouldn't write about it if I couldn't speak to it genuinely. Just last night I was wide awake at 2 am with the worst acid reflux, gross I know, and I couldn't get back to sleep. I was up at 630am to drive the kids to school which is a one hour drive one way. Also gross, I know. I was home at 920am. I am exhausted, and on top of that, I am 40 weeks pregnant and ready to pop at any second.
Why am I sharing this? The truth is, in all of this exhaustion lately, I have found myself feeling shameful at times. I haven't been this tired and this sleep deprived since the death of my fiancé in 2016, and I know it's only going to become more exhausting when baby arrives, so I am trying to embrace it and do the best I can.
In the moments where we are so tired, and barely have the energy to brush our teeth, we often find ourselves filling up our minds with negative self -talk. "I can't do one more thing," "I am too tired for this," "I don't have time for this," "I am not like those other people, they have their shit together, and I clearly don't."
Guess what everyone, no one "really" has their shit completely together. Some are just better than others at making it appear that way. I have made a conscious effort only to follow those influencers and entrepreneurs who are transparent as well. I want to learn from those who are willing to share the good the bad and the ugly.
Not only do I want to follow others that are real in describing and sharing their day to day lives, but I also want to be that person for my followers too. I would never preach something that I do not practice, and the practice of banishing negative self-talk is something I do almost every single day.
So today I said to myself, "If you were talking to one of your coaching clients who happened to be feeling this way, and experiencing this negative self - talk because they haven't had a lot of sleep or motivation, what would you say to them?".
Here is what I would say.
You are just tired, and humans, assuming they are physically and mentally healthy, can fight through tired.
You are not going to be tired forever, but if you wait until you aren't tired, you may never get anything done. How many of you remember the last time you didn't feel at least a little bit tired?
Do at least one thing today to move your life in a positive forward direction. I don't care what it is, just do it.
I recently had a client who had a goal to start a podcast. I gave him a deadline to get his first episode completed and posted. About two days before that deadline he e-mailed me and told me he didn't think he was going to get it done. I didn't really see any earth-shattering reason for why he hadn't got the episode completed yet, and in reality, there was still about 48hrs left before the deadline.
I told him to get it done.
In the end, he finished the episode, critiqued the shit out of it and admitted to not being happy with the result. Regardless, he shared the link to the episode for me to have a listen.
Do you want to know what motivated me to get up off my butt today and ignore the negative self-talk? That podcast episode did.
I listened to it a couple of days ago, and despite what my client thought;
IT WAS AMAZING.
I would love to share the episode but to protect client confidentiality I am unable to do that at this time, but I am hoping to have permission to share the link in the future.
The gist of this story is, this podcast episode was done apprehensively, last minute, and by a person who suffers greatly with "Imposter Syndrome” and social anxiety. Despite all that, it turned out incredible. The "intro" episode was filled with truth and vulnerability and I have no doubt it will gain followers because of that, but only if he fights past the negative self-talk in order to consistently share.
Even when you think you might not be good enough, you have to remember to tell yourself this; but maybe I am good enough. Trust me, you are.
I don't think my client was expecting the type of feedback I gave him on the episode. I was making notes the entire time I was listening to it, noting things I thought were brilliant. I couldn't have been happier with the quality of this episode and to be honest, based on his negative self-talk about who he is, and how he doesn't think he has much to offer; I wasn't expecting it to be as good as it was, but I had faith, and I was so pleased.
When you experience negative self-talk, or "Imposter Syndrome," you have to remember that it's not real. You are not your thoughts; you are your actions. If you can pull yourself together long enough to get one task completed, like a 5-10 minute podcast episode, or whatever it is you want to finish off your task list, you may be surprised to find out that YOU, in fact, are good enough and there are people just waiting to hear from you.
If I had let my negative self-talk get to me today, I would have accomplished nothing. I am exhausted, very pregnant, and feeling far from motivated, but there are certain things on my task list that fuel my fire. Just as I preach to others the importance of discipline, I have to continue to pull myself together long enough to complete at least one or two tasks each day, so at the end of the day I can go to bed feeling accomplished, empowered, and confident in my ability to get shit done.
On days you accomplish nothing, be kind to yourself, but please try very hard not to have too many of those days, as they fuel the negative self-talk instead of the empowered and determined soul.
Are you experiencing negative self - talk? What is one thing you can do today to overcome it so you can go to bed feeling accomplished? It doesn't have to be something big; it just has to be something.
It's not what you are that holds you back, it's what you think you are not. - Denis Waitley-