What Keeps You Up At Night?
Running a business is tough, and there are so many hurdles and issues that it’s any wonder we get any sleep at all. Taking cash flow out of the equation, there are still many other things that can cause us to over-analyse who we are and what we do. Have you ever heard of imposter syndrome? Chances are you may have experienced it at one time or another.
Imposter syndrome is where you believe that you are unqualified to be doing what you are in fact doing and that people will wake up to this idea and realise that you are unfit for the task. It can happen to anyone, at any time. Imposter syndrome also lets us believe that others know what they are doing – that we are somehow pretending to do the job that others more qualified should be doing.
Does this sound like you? Do you believe you will be found out? Is this worry keeping you up at night?
Many high-profile individuals have spoken out this syndrome, and the list may be quite surprising: Tina Fey, Michelle Pfeiffer, Neil Gaiman, Renee Zellweger, Kate Winslett, Seth Godin, Tom Hanks, Don Cheadle, Jodie Foster, Emma Watson, Sheryl Sandberg…the list goes on and on. And while the list is representative of mainly artists, it can happen to anyone in any industry. It is probably more to do with the fact that these well-known faces aren’t afraid to speak out about this syndrome.
So how can you stop imposter syndrome from taking over your life?
Don’t let it overtake your goals. While it is okay to feel like this on the odd occasion, it is important that you don’t let those fears stopping you from achieving your dreams and goals. You do have the talent! You are more than qualified for the task!
Acknowledge your success. Obviously you have had some success to date to get you to where you are today. Recognise that success and be happy with the choices you have made.We are all different. You may not be making as much money as so and so, or you or you don’t feel as joyful as their Facebook photos appear, so be it. Be grateful for every opportunity and be ready for more when they come.
Focus on being of assistance to others. When you aren’t focusing on yourself and your self doubt, you have a chance to truly help others around you and make a difference in their lives. After all, isn’t that what it is all about?
Mistakes happen. For overachievers, it can be the little things that can set you off. Remember that not everything has to be perfect all of the time. Everyone is allowed to make mistakes – that is how you learn and grow.
Be positive. Yes, some days this can be difficult so create a kind of positive reminder about your efforts – perhaps list some nice comments that people have made about you in the past. The negativity will soon pass.
Imposter syndrome has been around since the 1970s and chances are much earlier; it just had no name for which it could be discussed or analysed. If you do find that you are suffering from imposter syndrome, then perhaps sharing your feelings with close friends, colleagues or family members may help relieve the situation. And chances are they can relate to having experienced it themselves. No one is perfect, and no one has all the answers. The best you can do is set out to be the best you can be.