Ditching Imposter Syndrome (The Quick Way)

[3-Minute Read + Video]The road to feeling confident doesn't have to be long. I've got a shortcut that sidesteps Imposter Syndrome entirely. Are you ready to take it?

Discover more about your bold mind every Monday

Ditching Imposter Syndrome (The Quick Way)

The road to feeling confident doesn’t have to be long. I’ve got a shortcut that sidesteps Imposter Syndrome entirely. Are you ready to take it?

VIDEO: Kirrily Dear introduces a simple and effective way to rid yourself of Imposter Syndrome

When you crack open a story about Imposter Syndrome, you almost brace yourself for the first paragraph. You prepare for heart-wrenching stories as the narrator shares their moments of reckoning with the Imposter.

But here’s where I throw a curveball your way—those moments? They’re more like distant memories than a daily diary entry for me.

It’s not that I’ve never known the cold sweats of doubt or the sneaky suspicion that I might just be a fraud in Lycra. But when I sat down, really mulling over when I last felt Imposter Syndrome, I found myself leafing back through the calendar…way back. We’re talking almost a decade ago.

[Remember to pick up your bonus mind food! 🍏]

You’ll never beat a mythical standard.

Imposter Syndrome is a self-inflicted war on your self-esteem, guided by an overly hungry desire to be like others. It most often bites during high-pressure scenarios where you feel the need to impress. You believe you must play like a Maestro to pass the test, but inside, you feel like you’ve only just discovered middle C.

Imposter Syndrome distorts how you see success. It has you picturing “excellence” as some far-off, almost mythical standard that’s leagues away from where you stand. When you buy into it, you become hyper-aware of the space between you and that ideal.

This skewed perspective serves up a two-course meal of mental anguish. First, your vision of “excellent” becomes unachievable because it’s not based on reality. Second, by focusing so intensely on the gap—the skills and experience you think you lack—you’re handing more power to the doubt and denigrating your abilities.

Ten years ago, I delivered a welcome address at a conference as a newly-minted, young and female non-executive director. You can read a detailed version of the story in Who Dares, Wins (If You Do It Right).

I had a crystal clear image in my mind about how a company director of that organisation should be – dark-suited, articulate, and conservative. My natural style was none of those things, and as much as I tried to close the gap, mentally, I could never fully get there. When the pressure came on, I feared the world would see my shortfalls and people would think I was just another token appointment.

PHOTO: You can have fun dressing up as someone else but its never enjoyable when it feels forced.

Change your method to rid the Imposter.

If you’ve lived with Imposter Syndrome for a long time, it can feel like it’s part of your DNA, but that’s not the case. You weren’t born with it, and there’s no surgical intervention required to remove it. Thank goodness!

The method you’re using to rise to a challenge is triggering the fear. Do these eight steps feel familiar?
You:

  1. Decide to do an ambitious task
  2. Find a ‘perfect’ role model and benchmark yourself against them
  3. Identify all your perceived shortcomings
  4. Try to plug those gaps
  5. Conduct an unmerciful self-review
  6. Criticise yourself relentlessly
  7. Slide into panic mode, fearing you’re an imposter

This process is self-destructive. Throughout it, you tell yourself—consciously and unconsciously—that you’re not good enough, which destroys self-esteem.

You need to switch out that process with the method below so your mind shifts from self-critiquing to self-affirming.

Step 1: Decide to do an ambitious task.

Five gold stars for this. No changes, although you might like to use SENSATION goals to ramp up your motivation.

Step 2: Identify and build on your strengths.

Scrap the self-critique. Instead, ask yourself:

  • What knowledge and skills do I already have?
  • Which of my strengths can I apply here?
  • What learning opportunities can I seize in this journey?

Write your answers and read them every day. That will keep your strengths and outcomes at the forefront of your mind.

Step 3: Seek role models that exemplify how you want to express yourself.

Role models should inspire, not intimidate. Look for hints at how you can express your unique self in their success stories. Define your style of extraordinary.  

Step 4: Research and discuss expectations with others.

Assumptions are the breeding ground of Imposter Syndrome. The negative Nancy in your mind loves distorting vagueness into your worst nightmare. Seek the facts and others’ perspectives to ground your plans in reality.  

All four steps are easy to do. The challenge is remembering to do them! Write these up and stick them somewhere prominent. That way, every time you step into an ambitious task, they will be ready to support you in your success.

And remember: Achieving excellence isn’t done by morphing into someone else’s version of ‘perfect’. You’ll only get there by embracing and showcasing your own unique abilities.

Discover more about your bold mind every Monday

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