Defined by Merriam-Webster, Imposter Syndrome is “a psychological condition that is characterized by persistent doubt concerning one’s abilities or accomplishments accompanied by the feat or being exposed as a fraud despite evidence of one’s ongoing success”. We each have our own way of defining it and identifying it in our own lives. Today I’m sharing why we’re speaking about Imposter Syndrome, how I identify it in my life, and the realization I came to regarding the topic.
Why Are We Talking Imposter Syndrome?
I feel like lately Imposter Syndrome has been in so many different aspects of my life. I’m hearing about it on podcasts that I listen to; in conversations with friends and our personal views on our own lives; and of course, I experience it in my own life. Okay, it’s rampant Larissa. We get it. So what?
Well, I wanted to point something out that I realized I was doing, in case you’re doing the same thing. But first, let’s tackle some basics:
Basic 1: You are Enough.
You. Yes, you. You are enough. Despite what you perceive social media to be telling you; despite what you perceive society to be telling you; and despite if you have people physically saying this to you. What you bring to the table is important and what you have to offer is relevant. We are all gifted various talents, each at varying levels.
Basic 2: Nobody Knows What They’re Doing.
The older I get, the more I realize just how true this statement is. What is adulting even? Who knows? Frankly, (and I’m speaking to myself as well), stop comparing yourself to others. Everyone’s journey is different and it doesn’t make sense for us to set our expectations based on how we perceive others to be “succeeding”. Regardless of how well you know someone, they have struggles and doubts you may never be aware of. And on the flip side, people could be looking at you – thinking you have it all together!
Basic 3: Mistakes are Learning Opportunities.
Find me someone successful who never failed along the way. Have you ever thought maybe the reason the people who are “successful” (however you define that) is because they failed so many times? But they didn’t let that stop them from achieving their dreams. And we can’t let Imposter Syndrome let us from achieving our own goals and dreams. We have one life to live, so let’s agree to make it count. Mistakes and failures are a part of the journey, and honestly, sometimes they can turn out to be hilarious. Those opportunities, for they will present themselves in life (more often than we would like), can be converted to be viewed as learning opportunities. And the next time we decide to tackle a task or goal, we’ll know what not to go going forward.
How I Identify Imposter Syndrome in My Life
When I first heard of Imposter Syndrome, I felt like I could finally breathe a sigh of relief. I wasn’t going crazy, and I wasn’t alone. There was a phrase that described the exact emotions I was feeling and way more people than I ever imagined related to similar experiences. Even though I was relieved, I was also slightly upset at this fact because I never want anyone to feel as if they’re never enough. Here are a few examples in which Imposter Syndrome rears its ugly head in my life:
Imposter Syndrome: I started my blog in 2016, and I feel like I don’t have that much to show for it. Especially when I look at other bloggers who started after me, but have surpassed me by miles galore. People who are working full time and blogging can do it all, but you Larissa, you cannot.
Reality: I started my blog as a hobby, and then I learned that I could monetize. I quickly became overwhelmed with all the information available when it comes to blogging, and literally interpreted every message as a personal message to me. The fun aspect of blogging disappeared, and it began to feel like a chore. I didn’t want to do it because I kept comparing myself to others. My blogging journey doesn’t have to look like everyone else’s and that’s okay. I still have a voice and what I have to share is important to those who resonate with my words.
Imposter Syndrome: This may sound silly, but there are days where I question why I have friends. Sometimes in the sarcastic way when I do something embarrassing or awkward, but more seriously in the sense that I don’t bring anything of value to my friendships.
Reality: I have amazing friends. People who I can count on when things get tough and people who are always pushing me to be my best self. They actively choose to be a part of my life, which must mean I’m pretty amazing myself. That’s not to say I’m cocky, but I must bring something to the table for people to want to continue being in my presence. I know I’m a good listener; I genuinely care about people; and I love to have a good time and laugh. And that’s just the beginning my value!
Imposter Syndrome: Whenever I enter a new role, I immediately view myself as “less than” compared to my colleagues. I tend to shy away from expressing my opinions or thoughts, as for whatever reason I believe there’s no possible way they could be right.
Reality: Although I have much to learn whenever starting a new position, I also have much to offer. That’s why I was considered for the position and that’s why I was hired for the position. I can offer my level of expertise to those around me.
My Realization Regarding Imposter Syndrome
Although I definitely relate to Imposter Syndrome in all aspects, I recently realized something. As I continued to hear the topic being discussed across different platforms, I noticed I began to lean into the concept, allowing it to define me. I felt like these conversations validated the fact that I felt that way and it made it okay for me to feel this way.
I began using Imposter Syndrome as an excuse to not pursue my passions and used it as a reason to stay in my comfort zone.
Nothing worth celebrating happens in your comfort zone. We have to break out and put ourselves out there, to truly understand the depths of our capabilities. So that’s why now you’ll see me pursuing opportunities I previously believed I wasn’t qualified for. Why now you’ll see me doing things that make me feel hella awkward (hello more Instagram videos and dancing). Why now you’ll see more consistency and less worries about perfectionism. Because if we never try, then we’ll never know. And imagine if we can succeed further than we can even picture! So let’s stop saying no to ourselves, and starting putting ourselves in front of opportunities. Because one day, it just might change our lives!
As always, thank you for reading! Do you struggle with Imposter Syndrome as well? How does it show up in your life? Are you taking active steps to tackle it? I would love to hear your thoughts on Imposter Syndrome. Please share in the comments!