Have you ever fallen prey to this epidemic?
In Mindful Living by Design, we always address the phenomenon of the Imposter Syndrome. It’s a syndrome that seems to beleaguer many of us, regardless of gender, race, or class. It’s the feeling of “oh my gosh, someone is going to find out that I have no idea what I’m doing.” It’s feeling like being the Biggest Fake, even if others think we have “made it.” It comes to no surprise, then, that this topic is gaining more attention by the mainstream media. The good thing is that by talking about this Syndrome in a public forum (with public personas admitting to having it – see Dr. Maria Klawe’s, Harvey Mudd College’s president, recent article ), we can begin to realize that we are not alone. We can also recognize that we can shift from feeling like a fraud to finding a sense of personal motivation and confidence.
As many of you who have been following will know how much I adore the work by Amy Cuddy. Please check out her TedX talk on body language and power dynamics if you haven’t already done so. Another great talk is from Dr. Ivan Joseph, who shares observations of how to get rid of the negative Self Talk we all do and build our sense of confidence. As he notes, there are enough people telling us we can’t do something, so why would we want to say the same thing to ourselves? By practicing, focusing on what we do well, and changing our perspective, our sense of confidence can soar while removing that little voice telling us we are frauds.
We all have those moments of feeling like a fraud. However, we can find ways to dismiss those feelings before they start guiding our action.
While actively seeking out ways to fail sounds like the worst remedy for relieving a syndrome where we already feel like failures, this process can help us in many positive ways. Learning to fail helps us to be comfortable with the feeling – it’s not a great one, but as we’ve all experienced it, we also know that it’s never the end of the world and that we’re going to be OK. It also gives us permission to try things that we otherwise would not because of fear of being found out. Complacency is hiding. Complacency is letting our Imposter Selves become our selves. Taking risks – and yes, embracing failure – is the only way we can continue to grow and live.5. Surround yourself with true friends
Research has shown that many of us overestimate our abilities in some areas, while underestimating in others. If we surround ourselves with naysayers, we’re going to always be told we’re not good enough. If we surround ourselves with yes-men, we’re going to always be told we’re the Best Thing Ever. It’s important to have a few true friends and confidants who truly support you and want the best for you. Consider a few people – both close friends and professional acquaintances, i.e., mentors – who will not be afraid to tell you the truth, good or bad.
This was first published on www.Hummingbirdrcc.com.
Dr. Belinda Chiu is a social change strategist, coach, and facilitator. Like you, she believes that everyone has the transformational ability to reach their potential and beyond. Dr. Chiu incorporates a practice of mindfulness to help individuals harness their natural strengths, achieve results, and carve their own paths towards professional fulfillment. She writes regularly on her website, Hummingbird research coaching consulting.
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