I've written 11 books, and each time I think, 'uh oh.' They're going to find out now. I've run a game on everybody, and they are going to find me out. " - Maya Angelou
There is a part of us that excuses every accomplishment as luck, someone else's work, or dismisses it. It's the same part of us that walks around in fear that someday people will find out the awful truth, "I am nowhere near as smart, skilled or accomplished as everybody thinks I am."
It stops us from executing, from happiness, and living a real life. For some it's paralyzing.
Have you seen the movie, "Catch me if You Can?" Leonardo DiCaprio plays one of the most famous imposters in history, Frank Abagnale. For years, Frank Abagnale conned people into believing he was an airline pilot, a doctor, a lawyer...writing bad checks and committing fraud along the way. He was an imposter.
You are not Frank Abagnale.
How do you quiet that relentless doubting voice?
The one that that says you'll never be good enough, you're not smart enough, not skilled enough, and pretty soon everyone else will find out too.
This voice is not You. It's your overactive, fear-based human brain. A brain that is trained to be on the lookout for danger. This feature of our brain used to protect us from dangers. Signs we grew to recognize, like a rustle in the bushes, could be a predator trying to kill us. Our brain would alert us to this fear, and save us from whatever may be there.
But now, your brain doesn't have to protect you from a predator. Yet it's still seeking out and trying to protect us from danger. Seeing and interpreting signs which are usually not real.
The best way to overcome your imposter syndrome is to shine a spotlight on the facts. Your grit, hustle, intelligence, creativity and achievements.
Next time, instead of asking yourself, "Who am I to be so brilliant/talented/deserving...."
Try something like this:
- Who am I? I'm the one who has spent almost a decade honing the mindset of an entrepreneur. I see opportunities and possibilities where others see nothing.
- Who am I? I am the one with relentless determination to master the knowledge of the business world, so much so I was willing to work full time, and go to school full time.
- Who am I? I have overcome the odds to be where I am today, I think big and see future possibilities and my vision inspires others. I am not going to live my entire life in a question based in fear.
So, who are you?