Why does someone have imposter syndrome and how can this be resolved?
One usually falls prey to imposter syndrome because of lack of practice and experience. Rephrase the term and acknowledge the facts. A new entrepreneur is going into business for herself. She wants to provide a service, teach a workshop or something. She has some good ideas (she thinks), but they’re not tested, so she’s unsure. She hasn’t received a ton of feedback yet, so she’s left with only her own analysis of the potential. At this moment, good and bad potential outcomes exist as imaginary hypotheses in her mind. And she’s losing the battle to the negative side.
Stop. Take stock. Acknowledge the facts. Know what you know and what you don’t. Try to get some feedback and be ready to make some adjustments if necessary.
Are you an imposter? Are you pretending to be something that you are not? Are you lying to people about your qualifications? Are you being authentic?
I’m a teacher. I’m well-experienced in my niche. I have some academic credentials, and even a license. But I’m not ‘the best’. I have an idea of what ‘the best’ is because I’ve been taught by those I consider ‘the best’ in their field, and I know I’m not there yet. But I aspire to be like them. I model their ways and mirror their techniques until they become mine. And I listen to the feedback of my students and continuously polish my craft.
20 years into my career as coach and teacher in my field. I still feel like ‘an imposter’ going into a new class. I have this ‘perfectionist’ thing going on. I hold myself to an impossible standard of achievement and performance. That’s me. I do that. I own that. What’s your story? Why do you feel like an imposter? Having a real heart-to-heart with yourself is the first step on overcoming the so-called imposter syndrome and being able to move forward with your ideas. It’s not easy. You’ll have to work forward through the fear, even while you’re scared; you have to summon courage.
Sometimes a good mentor can help you through your process and support you with some penetrating questions and insight. But in the end, it comes down to answering the question, are you an imposter, or aren’t you? And if you are, is there a reason to be pretending something right now? Like the old ‘fake it ‘til you make it’ adage? It’s a valid approach! Just be honest with yourself and give yourself a break. Truth is, people aren’t nearly as hard on you as you are on yourself, and the service you want to share with the world is needed and eagerly being anticipated by more people than you might currently appreciate.
Of course, there’s the ‘spiritual’ take on this, too, right? The heart of innocence screaming behind the ego’s façade. The me that says, “but this is all a dream”. Yeah, okay. Give the illusion it’s due, though. At some point we’re going to be better for reconciling the two primal urges to transcendence and normalcy, by acknowledging the embodied experience and getting about the great work of creating our destinies, as conscious operators and expressions of the divine in our own right.
Anyway, yeah. In either scenario, Imposter Syndrome is nothing that a frank heart-to-heart with yourself won’t fix.
…is a Saiva Tantrika, Gyana Yogi and founder of Uma Maheshwara Yoga & Ayurveda. David has an MA in Semiotics, lives in Japan with his family and works as a coach in L & D, devoting his time to developing science-based tools and programs that help people reach the fullest potential of the human condition.