Impostor syndrome stops many a purposeful entrepreneur from showing up to do great work. So how do we get to the bottom of this issue? Read on to find out.
“Instead of looking to the right or the left, it’s time to look in front of you: to the very people waiting for you to come alive in your world-shifting work.”Ché Elizaga Castro, Come Alive Co
Picture this: you’re work-work-workin’ away, SOARING in your zone of genius after keeping your cozy friend Procrastination at bay (go, you!). As you stand up to step away for a breather you muse to yourself about your feats — a rare moment where you’re actually showering yourself with compliments, not doubts.
But before you even have a chance to revel in the feel-good aura of how much you slay (‘cuz get it Queen, you do!) that familiar, gnawing voice crashes your party of one.
“Okay. You’re good; I’ll give you that. But so are so many out there. And guess what? They’re way farther ahead.”
Say Hello to My Little Friend: Impostor Syndrome
If you’re a breathing human being working toward a personal dream you’ve most likely had this thought… or another like it.
This, my friends, is Impostor Syndrome: a psychological pattern where one doubts their accomplishments and fears being called out as a “fraud”. I like to call Impostor Syndrome, that negative friend you can’t kick out of your life because she’s been around so long, you’ve just gotten used to her presence.
Impostor Syndrome is a b**** and even more so when you’ve got sponsored ads in your face about how much So-and-So made in just 5 weeks!
It’s easy to judge a person’s progress on the glitz and glamour of these pesky ads. But take it from someone who’s worked in advertising for a decade-plus: social ads and posts are the cleaned up-version of ourselves; like how you look when you’re not picking your nose off-camera.
You can’t judge a book by its cover, and you can’t judge success from a filter.
A Better Conversation & An Epiphany
Are you ready for some good news? Research shows that 70% of the population deals with Impostor Syndrome, and that high-achievers are even more prone to its taunts.
Put another way: If you’ve ever doubted yourself this means that a) you really care about what you do and b) you must be bloody brilliant, ‘cuz only the crème de la crème experience it!
Heck, even the patron saint of acting, Ms. Meryl Streep herself (nominated for more Academy Awards than any other actor) has had her fill:
“You think, ‘Why would anyone want to see me again in a movie?’ and I don’t know how to act anyway, so why am I doing this?”Meryl Streep
Recently I dealt with this unwelcome friend myself — an almost-daily battle as I fought to launch this business and brand that I just *know* will affect the lives of so many.
“Sure, you’re a good writer. But guess what? So is That Copywriter and This One, and they already have THOUSANDS of customers / followers.”My Impostor Syndrome, aka Unwelcome Friend
It’s a punch in the gut to look ahead and see others ahead of you. But like you, I had a choice in that moment: to either sit down and let the lies stop me in my tracks or stand up and SHOUT my truth.
So I engaged in a little experiment of friendly banter.
“You’re right, Unwelcome Friend. So-and-So Copywriters ARE killin’ it in their lanes… but what do you mean by ‘way ahead’? We are all on our own journeys and not even on a one-directional path but moreso AN OPEN FREAKIN’ PLAIN where we ALL get to frolic in the fields and do whatever-the-heck we want. So who’s to say they’re ‘ahead’ of anything?”Me to my Unwelcome Friend, aka Impostor Syndrome
I continued. This is quite fun.
“Also, there’s only 4 of them [whom I can name] and, like, billions in the world waiting to COME ALIVE in their dreams. I love the work those 4 are doing but they can’t possibly help everyone alone.”Me, still to my Unwelcome Friend Impostor Syndrome
Ding ding ding.
There are a gajillion people who need the services that you and others in your field offer, but
- No one else shares your same vision or approach, and
- The number of those in need FAR OUTWEIGHS the number of those who can help.
It was in this moment that my Why trampled over Unwelcome Friend’s voice with her classic witty retort:
“You are here to help people come alive in their unique gifts and calling. What do you think will happen to those people if you decide to sit on the sidelines now?”
Stop Looking to the Right or Left & Where to Look Instead
My friend, Impostor Syndrome is aggravatingly real, to the point where you can *feel* her lumpy weight heave-ho on your chest. But it’s time to take back your life and stop entertaining her jarring presence.
Research says that the secret to success is in the quality of your closest friends. So if Impostor Syndrome is in your Top 5 then how low is she bringing down your vibe?
Behind Come Alive Co is the belief that the world needs you to come alive in your unique gifts and calling. There is no point comparing your journey to those around you because no one is called to your specific path, nor do they bear your same gifts, including:
- Your heart; your dream to do good in the world, and that stubborn audacity to believe you actually can. (You will.)
- Your experience, and not just the schooling you had (or didn’t!), but the years you’ve walked through life and how you’ve turned your pain into something positive, inspiring others with your light.
- Your wins as well as your losses, because character is shaped in the battlefield more than in just your victories.
My friend, there are hundreds if not thousands of people waiting for you to activate in your gifts and offer the *very thing* they need. So instead of looking to the right or the left, it’s time to look in front of you: to the very people waiting for you to come alive in your world-shifting work.
And if you’re ready for it, it’s time to have that *breakup conversation* with your friend Impostor Syndrome.