I chatted with a talented coach a few days ago. He’s between clients. He felt as if he was stagnating, not learning anything. He said, “This is one of those days, where I wonder if I have Imposter Syndrome (where you doubt your value). Do you ever feel that way?”
Of course, I do. Not often, but often enough. I said, “I combat that feeling by shipping something.”
He said, “Ooooh.” That’s the long “oh,” when you get a transforming idea. I often follow that “oh” with a face-palm.
I suspect Imposter Syndrome might be a result of staying in Old Status Quo or in Chaos too long. (Too long is personal to each of us and relative to our situations.)
I use the pressure of shipping something (a blog post, a client discussion, a talk) as a forcing function to take a stand. While I want to be “right” or “perfect” or whatever, I know from experience that if I ship, I will learn. The faster I ship, the faster I learn.
That’s when I learn that I’ve addressed a concern other people have.
I never know what people will connect with. I thought people would connect with many of my posts from the last few weeks (May and June 2020). Maybe. I can’t tell from the comments. (This blog doesn’t appear to have the readership my other blog has. Although, this one gets more comments! Thank you for your comments.)
I can’t know in advance what I write or say will connect with people. That’s why I use shipping/publishing as a way to put more work out there.
The more I ship, the more response I receive. The responses help me know if I’m headed in the right direction.
Let’s consider other alternatives to moving past Imposter Syndrome.
More Alternatives to Living With Imposter Syndrome
These ideas require writing. I find that when I write things down, I see them differently than when I speak them. You can journal for your self. You don’t have to publish for the world.
- Write a story about when you succeeded with some work. Personal or professional. I say “story” because it’s about the situation and what you did, not the outcome yet.
- Write a story when you “failed” with some work. Now, write down what you learned. The “failure” isn’t the issue. What you learned is the issue.
- Review your past year, month by month. (I do this for my work. You might use another vector in your life.) For each month, write down something you accomplished.
When we feel as if we’re imposters, we don’t see what we have accomplished. These three questions/prompts help us see what we have done.
When I see what I’ve done, I now have the internal grit to do the next thing. I might have to choose something specific to do. Then, I can start delivering on that thing. I often choose a writing project, especially now that no one’s traveling much. I have much more time to write. (Which is a great thing.)
You don’t have to live with Imposter Syndrome. If you’re like me, choose something to learn, practice, and ship. If you’re not like me, make sure you assess your life, so you can see what you did accomplish. You can then create new choices for yourself.
That’s the question this week: How do you manage imposter syndrome?
- What’s the Problem: the Decision or the Outcome?
- What Does Courage Mean to You?