Leaders around the world are choosing to focus on best ways to be effective, learn about Real Skills and how to deal with childhood conditioning that is affecting the future of work.
On the 17th of January, I was part of leaders around the globe in the biggest gathering on Zoom I have ever experienced with over 600 individuals from all walks of life gathering to connect and level-up their skills in a real-time discussion around “Real Skills” and in there we spoke about our imposter syndromes and how it is affecting us in building culture and interactions we can be proud of.
Everyone experience imposter syndrome around the world and the word is self-definitive: Imposter syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. ‘Imposters’ suffer from chronic self-doubt and a sense of intellectual deceit that override any feelings of success or external proof of their competence. It is universal and it cut across race, gender, religion, sectors and tribe. It is a childhood conditioning.
Some of the signs that can show you are suffering from this hot mess of harmfulness can be fear of failure, lack of self-confidence, believe that you do not deserve success, attributing success to luck, downplaying success, not shipping of ideas because you feel they are not robust, dwelling on past errors and mistakes, feeling of inadequacy, negative thoughts, anxiety. This negativity can grow if you don’t get it under control.
So, what can you do to deal with the imposter syndrome?
1. Pay attention to your thoughts
This is the most important way to deal with imposter syndrome. As individuals we also have unconscious conversations active inside out minds because our mind simply wanders at any given time. And when your mind is not focused on something constructive, it wanders off into fear, worry, anxiety and discouragement.
The concept of thinking about what you are thinking about is very key in battling imposter syndrome, we must discipline ourselves to be aware of this unconscious conversation that often led us into negativity.
Stop and ask yourself, “What am I thinking about?” Put your thoughts on monitoring and change your thinking.
2. Call imposter syndrome what it is, don’t bottle it up or ignore it
As an employee/employer don’t ignore the imposter syndrome. Your ability to name your negative emotions decreases the power it has over you, contrary to what we often tell ourselves, “You can’t show that you’re weak, just bottle it all up”. Negative emotions bottled up reinforces itself over time, but when you call it as it is, your thinking is engaged by our mind and you can rewrite your mental programmes.
3. Guard against emotional Pig-pens
One of the characters in the Peanuts cartoon was always dirty and every time move around with dust to wherever he went. Some people are like Pig-pen, they carry around cloud of negativity and self-inadequacy with them wherever they go. When you know someone around you is a Pig-pen, all you need to do is keep your distance to avoid getting some dust of failure and negativity on you.
4. Do nothing
Sometimes you need to stop working for some time to re-group and re-focus on yourself and thought process. You can get so tired and you just need to simply need to stop, rest, or simply take a break.
5. Do something
You need to be intentional about doing something about your imposter syndrome so that you can get off negativity. Have a goal, set new plans in place to deal with this enemy of your progress. So, when the imposter syndrome comes, don’t allow in it. Rather, do something constructive like talk about your feelings, seek support and visualise your success.
6. Be specific with your plan
I cannot under empathizes the need to be specific in what you do in response to the imposter feelings. You might need to make changes to how you get work done or get an idea across. I know that lack of self-confidence will come your way, so be prepared. When it comes, recognise the imposter feelings when it emerges, know that failing doesn’t make you a failure and act upon your predetermined plan. Such a plan may include talking about your feelings, calling it what it is, developing a new script, going for a walk, calling a friend, doing something nice for someone, or dismiss validation outside of yourself by learning to pat yourself on the back.
7. List what you’re grateful about, and not your problems
When you learn to be grateful then you’re shifting your attention from negative feelings. By doing this you are being intentional in shifting your attention off the source of the imposter feelings.
8. Break the silence
The beauty of diversity should always remind you of everyone uniqueness. There are many others who feel the same way too — like imposters. Have an open dialogue with someone rather than keeping to your negative thoughts alone.
Imposter thoughts and feelings plague all people, men and women of all ages and races, successful people, etc. Your response to it will determine if it’ll be the death of your career or you will push past the thoughts and feelings.
Don’t forget, everyone losses when bright people play small. Go. Be graceful, create delight and love to the interactions that make up your day.