Despite melting in the UK’s heat wave (yes, it finally got too hot even for my Mediterranean blood) I’ve been talking about imposter syndrome – it has been everywhere. It has come up in groups I’m in on social media, it has come up with mentoring clients, and I even ran a deep-dive training session on it yesterday.
But here’s the thing: imposter syndrome isn’t all in your head.
It isn’t something you can ‘think’ your way out of.
And it breaks my heart to see people trying to ‘push on through’ with imposter syndrome, like it’s something we have to put up with, living life through gritted teeth and pretending we’re ok.
- If you’re about to go on stage and imposter syndrome strikes, it will affect your neurochemistry and make it harder for you to be in flow – to inspire.
- If you get an email from a journalist, asking for an interview, you’re more likely to ‘accidentally’ leave replying until it’s too late.
- If you’re offered an opportunity that could give you a chance to shine – and make the difference you’re really here to make – then imposter syndrome could cause you to convince yourself you’re too busy, or it’s not a good fit for you.
- If we secretly dream of publishing a book, it gets us distracted by ‘other priorities’, turning down PR or even not writing it at all.
- And it gets us discounting our prices, even before potential clients have asked about our fees. And not sending newsletters, because we’re telling ourselves that we ‘don’t want to bother people’.
Imposter syndrome happens when who we think we need to be, to fulfil our dreams, doesn’t match with how we see ourselves.
And when you make changes at that deepest level, the whole myriad of limiting beliefs, thought patterns, habits and stresses that go with imposter syndrome melt away.
I’m not sitting in an ivory tower on this. The night before Dare to Dream Bigger was due to go to the printer, I deleted the manuscript. Properly deleted. “Who am I to publish a book on the ‘inside work’ for changing the world?” Obviously, the fact that so many of you gorgeous Passionate World Changers have read it means I did my work on myself and then found a copy on my backup drive. But it doesn’t mean that imposter syndrome experience wasn’t life-flooringly real.
Imposter syndrome affects us all, if we’re stretching a comfort zone, if we haven’t done that identity-level inside work, first.
But most of us pretend it’s not there. In fact, it’s one of the very last blocks to go, when you’re working on your personal development.
I don’t want you to have to risk dreaming big, but playing small, just because of imposter syndrome.
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