I felt inspired to finally write about imposter syndrome as I have suffered from it far too long. I also know for a fact that I am not alone. Before we dive deeper into the rising phenomena of imposter syndrome, what does it mean?
It basically boils down to feeling like a fraud most of the time. Despite your long list of achievements and awards, inside you feel they are about to discover who you really are: a nobody. This imposter feeling stems from a place of low self-regard. You attach more regard to what other people think of you than what you think of you. Self-regard is a critical emotional intelligence component.
Healthy self-regard levels allow you to bring your whole being to any place as you cultivate your ability to like and love yourself in light of both your positive and negative qualities.
How do I deal with imposter syndrome?
I start by reminding myself that the world does not revolve around me but around the sun. As human beings, we are inherently selfish creatures. Some to a lesser extent than others, but egoism reigns more often than not. In your mind, everyone is out there to conspire and plot against you, and to make your life miserable. You may have some psychopaths in your life, but in general, people are more concerned with their own issues, with their own lives and with their own way of living. Not so much with yours.
Invest in increasing your self-regard and start building a healthy, robust, and resilient foundation within your inner world. The more you become aware of what goes on inside of you, what kind of emotions are triggered, the more you will learn how to respond instead of just reacting to external stimuli.
You have accomplished much more than what meets the eye
The second thing is to list your accomplishments and achievements through the eyes of someone who loves you, someone who admires you, and someone who believes in you. When we assess situations through the first perceptual position — our own eyes — the information we take in is biased and fuelled with emotions. Emotions of insecurity, feelings of anxiety, and your unprocessed emotions from your whole childhood baggage throughout your teenage years, and your career.
We all have daddy and mommy issues. Not everyone, but most of us. These issues haunt us far into our adult lives, which is why therapists make a lot of money out of us!
Comparison with others is futile
My third piece of advice is to stop comparing yourself with other people. Let me repeat that, STOP COMPARING YOURSELF WITH OTHER PEOPLE.
Especially when you suffer from low self-regard, low confidence, and low self-esteem levels. This only perpetuates an elusive reality that other people are better than you, are more confident than you, and are luckier than you. I love Lady Gaga’s expression of how social media has become the toilet of the internet. I try to use social media for the better. I try to be authentic, I try to share what it is to be a human in the digital age. And this should be your AHA moment:
Every single person out there is a human being. It does not matter how good their filters are on their Instagram, Snap Chat or Facebook pictures; it does not matter how much selfies they have with famous people; it does not matter how much bragging there is on the internet or beyond. Everyone is human. We have flaws, and we have positive qualities.
Instead of focusing your energy on other people, which drains you, focus your energy on yourself. Find out who you are at your core by knowing what comes naturally to you. By understanding and identifying your character strengths. When you identify your character strengths, you tap into your endless energy source. This is an essential aspect. Because what comes naturally to you may seem very simple and trivial in your eyes, but that is your secret power!
Seek out diverse mentorship
My fourth piece of advice is seeking out diverse mentors. Feedback from those who believe in you and who wish you well is so essential for your growth. As human beings, we cringe, coming out of our comfort zone. Our brain is designed to keep us safe. As soon as we get out of our comfort zone, all alarm bells go off. The thought process and the negative self-talk kicks in! Know that your thoughts are your resistance to change. Mentorship and coaching can help you navigate through these internal dialogues and help you develop empowering discussions with yourself.
Gain perspective in life
My final piece of wisdom is gaining some perspective in your life. I live on the ninth floor in Brussels, and my view from my living room is on the cemetery. This reminds me every single day that we are all mortal human beings. We are going to die. We just don’t know when. Thousands of people go to bed at night, and they never wake up the next morning.
So, when you go to bed in the night, ask yourself this question, was today worth it? Did I do something that was truly fulfilling and worth my energy?
It is a question many people don’t want to ask. Some people will even stop reading now. Because it is very uncomfortable if the answer is no. Well, you have another chance at life when you wake up the next day. To take life with a grain of salt. To enjoy life. To know whatever happens at work, it is not the end of the world. No matter the mistake, no one is going to die as a result of it. At least, I hope not!
Making mistakes, failing, and going through embarrassing situations will help you build resilience and character. Life is a learning curve until the day your last breath flows out of you.
If I got a dollar or a euro because I am living in Europe, for every mistake and failure I made, I literally would be the richest woman in the world. I see failure as a stepping stone to where I want to be in life. A place where I am no longer stuck in the past and where I am not chasing the future. It is a place where I am fully present in the here and now in complete serenity and with gratitude.
I wish you to experience the essence of life from your authentic self, where imposter syndrome is non-existent.