Do you ever feel like a fraud? Like you’re certain to be found out? It turns out this is a relatively common phenomenon. It has become known as imposter syndrome and it affects even the most successful people.
I”m no exception. There have been a few moments when I have certainly felt out of my depth, at times because I was a bit out of my depth. As a youth pastor and content creator I certainly don’t always feel qualified to try and offer the help and motivation I’m giving. Why should anyone listen to me? The thing is though, there isn’t really anything that makes me unqualified. I’ve studied and continue to learn as much as I can. One could almost say I have a responsibility to share what I’m learning. If it can help people it will!
Imposter syndrome is me feeling like I’m not enough, even though I am. Too often we let imposter syndrome keep us from taking that first step, or maybe even the next step and If you can relate to those feelings— Stop selling yourself short. Don’t let imposter syndrome win. Today I want to give you five ways to beat imposter syndrome.
ONE: Learn any skills you are lacking.
Many people want to define success as the point of arrival, but the truth is no such point exists. True success is in continuing the journey. Keep pursuing knowledge. Keep learning and applying that knowledge. It doesn’t have to be all at once either, slowly over time keep growing. Keep reading books that will challenge and stretch you. Keep watching YouTube videos or listening to podcasts. What are you doing to improve? If you’re continuing to get better, I promise you are absolutely not an imposter.
TWO: Acknowledge the feeling and Identify the falsehoods.
If you’re feeling like an imposter, recognize it and call it out. Sometimes we play this mental head game where we try to just dismiss the thought and bury it deep into our subconscious where it goes to live, subtly gnawing at our confidence. It is far better to acknowledge you feel that way. Say it out loud and then recognize the lies. “I feel like an imposter because…” There is a good chance the reason following that statement isn’t true. If you’re still worried it is then…
THREE: Ask for feedback.
This is so important because other people have a way of seeing areas of our lives that we are otherwise blind to. Find a trusted friend, mentor or coworker and let them know what you’ve been feeling and why. Give them permission to give honest feedback. They may have an area or two where you could improve. I bet they will also be able to tell you all the ways you are qualified and the positives that you completely forgot about while you were focusing on your flaws.
FOUR: Don’t fall into the comparison TRAP.
We live in a world where everyone constantly posts their highlights on social media and we can’t help but see them and immediately compare our results with theirs. We forget that apparent success by someone else can be deceptive and doesn’t always reflect reality. We also forget that even the most successful has flaws, faults and days where they’re not feeling it. Stop comparing your low points with someone else’s high points. Look at yourself, your results and the ways you’re working to move forward.
FIVE: Remember who YOU are (and how you got here).
We can learn a lot from the story of Jesus’ first temptation in the wilderness.
MATTHEW 4:1-3 (NLT) Then Jesus was led by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted there by the devil. 2 For forty days and forty nights he fasted and became very hungry.3 During that time the devil came and said to him, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become loaves of bread.”
The amazing thing about this to me is that right before that Jesus was baptized and the heaven’s opened up and the voice of God said, “This is my son dearly loved son, who brings me great joy.” NOW the enemy comes along and is like, “If you’re God’s son…”
First, he tries to cast doubt on who Jesus is and then he puts expectations on the identity. “If you were really who you say you are you would do this” or “You would have achieved this by now.”
There will always be voices (even if they are our own) that try to cast doubt on our authenticity, or that feeling that we should have done more by now. We must silence those voices. Don’t ever let someone else’s lack of belief in you keep you from believing in yourself. If the someone can cause you to doubt your identity, ability, intelligence then they can rob you of your power to accomplish those things. Guard the voices that you listen to. Be who YOU are. You’re not an imposter. You’re exactly who you’re supposed to be. So keep going.