Ever felt like a fraud? That you don’t know enough and are less of an expert than others perceive you to be?
In 62 studies, with over 14,161 participants, the prevalence rates of impostor syndrome varied widely from 9% to 82% largely depending on the screening tool and cutoff used to assess the symptoms. You can geek out on the stats here.
What was discovered was, Impostor Syndrome was common among both men and women and across a range of age groups (adolescents to late-stage professionals). Impostor syndrome is often linked with depression and anxiety and is associated with impaired job performance, job satisfaction, and burnout. (And that’s because how we view ourselves has a ripple effect on all other aspects of our life.)
Impostor Syndrome is also seen in people who challenge themselves, like CEOs and entrepreneurs, who find themselves with a feeling of being fraud or fake since they’re in a state of ongoing growth and discomfort.
I hear this with new business owners who are learning a new skill AND building a business who are driving changes in their business strategy, shifting their services or ideal target clients. Thoughts in their heads say “you’ll never be able to do this!” or “how can you charge money for something you have not yet mastered yourself?”
Now, no matter where you’re at in your career, most people have felt this way on the journey. I felt this when I was at the beginning of my journey as a Demartini Method Facilitator. I thought, ‘why would people listen to me, and what I have to say?’ and I even felt I didn’t have anything important to say anyway.
The imposter mindset is demonstrated by feelings of inadequacy and insecurity, manifesting in the continual questioning of one’s own competence. It’s thinking you’re not intelligent enough to do the work, you’re not an expert and you worry people will eventually find out how much you don’t know and see straight through you, like being caught with your pants down kind-of-moment.
(Oh!!! Flashback to my grade 3 end of year production where I’m wearing a cowgirl outfit in front of the entire school and I had a wardrobe malfunction, and my pants fell off – no imposter syndrome there, only fully exposed and real).
Let’s go deeper with Imposter Syndrome because it is deeper than the thoughts you think, it is perfect feedback to let you know you’re not living up to the light within you. You’re slowly snuffing your own flame out. You’re slowly dying inside.
So let’s cover the top three impostor syndrome dynamics and more importantly, what to do to shift this sucker;
1. I am not a real expert.
When you say to yourself you’re not a real expert, you believe you don’t know enough. The void of not knowing is so great, that you minimise yourself, and, as a byproduct, play down what you do know.
Another definition of Imposter Syndrome is “a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist even in the face of information that indicates that the opposite is true.”
You’re not seeing your wealth of wisdom within. You focus on the unknown information rather than the known information. You know more than you realise.
Gold Nugget Of Wisdom: Focus on what you do know while beavering away in the background mastering your skills and knowledge. Spending time with others who know more than you, soak up their wisdom while watching someone with a greater level of mastery. And it is the small steps, acted on repeatedly that will raise your expertise.
Apply The Demartini Method: Go to a moment you perceived yourself to not know enough. And ask this powerful question, how did it serve yourself (and anyone else who was there) that, in that moment, you didn’t know enough? (This is column 10 of the Demartini Method) Keep asking and answering until you are certain it was both a help and hinderance to you to not know enough.
2. People know more than me.
Yes, this is true. So untruths were detected there. People do know more than you and this is true at any level of knowledge.
Some people think that everyone else has something they don’t and that they are or won’t be at the same level. They’re not playing small and minimise what they know or don’t know but to people around them. They think of themselves as an impostor, not qualified to do anything but sit in the background and take notes.
The more you minimise yourself to others, the more you minimise to more people, the greater the imposter syndrome you’ll have as you’re squishing your own light and love to share with the world.
Gold Nugget Of Wisdom: Remember, you spot it, you got it! Yes, the world is your mirror. So ask yourself where and when you have displayed expertise or knowledge in the same or similar way as the people around you. And ask and answer this repeatedly until you wake up within your expertise. And watch yourself level up.
Apply The Demartini Method: Make a long list of everything you do know (this is column 12 of the Demartini Method) until you realise that you’re a freakin’ genius and have a lot fo share with the world.
3. I’ll be exposed as a fraud.
People with Impostor Syndrome think “who am I to do this?” and “Why would anyone listen to me?” They can feel like they stop themselves from trying something new in business for fear of being exposed as a fraud.
This is a deeper issue. It is not just about being exposed, but they’re also saying they don’t deserve success. It’s an internal sense of doubting their own ability, expertise and disbelieving they can be successful.
Now, what is interesting, if we go down the rabbit hole to find the problem under the problem, doubting their own ability can be because of two factors.
Overly high standards can lead to an inability to see and appreciate your expertise, leading to feeling more like a fraud and not deserving success.
Striving to be a perfectionist (the unrealistic one-sided perfection) leads people to feel disappointed and not acknowledge their successes, however small.
This, when left unchecked and unbalanced, over time can lead to more feelings of self-criticism and low self-esteem. Again, another ripple effect onto other areas of life because you then compare yourself more to others, which leads to greater imposter syndrome thoughts.
Gold Nugget Of Wisdom: I can’t go past this without bringing in universal law. When you attach to a one-sided world, it draws in the counterbalanced nightmare. When you want so desperately a one-sided world, you suffer more. If you attach to being an expert and knowing, if you must have what you deliver to your clients as perfect, no mistakes, no errors, then you’ll be living in a one-sided illusion. Look for the drawbacks of each of these until you crack the fantasy and pop the bubble.
Apply The Demartini Method: When you doubt your own ability, expertise and disbelieving you can be successful, more often than not there is an entangled fantasy of being ‘successful.’ You want to be seen as an expert in the field. Like everything, it has it’s downside too. To dissolve this dynamic, go to a moment you perceived yourself to not be an expert. Ask the question if in that moment you had perceived yourself as an expert, what would have been the drawback in that moment and from that moment onwards (this is column 14 of the Demartini Method. Crack any illusion that the opposite would have been better.
Time to shake off the shackles of your misperceptions, and remember you’re not bound to succeed, you’re bound to live up to the light within you.