Ah yes. Imposter syndrome. One of my favourite topics. A somewhat destructive force, but in a weird kind of way, also beautiful. Humour me for a second. Who can be affected by it? It goes out of its way to include everyone, it never discriminates against gender, age, race, sexuality. Regardless of the industry you may work in, the subjects you’re studying, the goals you’re trying to achieve. It always finds a way to have you second guessing yourself.
Sounds all too familiar?
Who’s heard these gems before?
What if I’m not good enough
What if others, or my clients think im not good enough either?
I don’t deserve it as much as they do
They put more effort in, so deserve that success
I’ll never be as successful as them, so I’ll leave them to it
They look more suitable
My journey isn’t nearly as eventful or amazing as theirs
There are so many, and all personable to you. But what they do is have you second guessing yourself. Question your achievements. Whether you are indeed still good enough and deserving of your success. Whether you can provide value to yourself and then pass that onto others. Often, they’ll even stop you before you even get started. How many times have we had a great idea but talked ourselves out of it?
The ‘Inner Critic’
I’d like to introduce you to its mastermind and creator. The Inner Critic. I got this from a book im listening to called Limitless by Jim Kwik, and is perfectly apt, so I’ll run with it. In it, he regularly references the Inner Critic. As its this little bastards job it seems, to create belief, after belief, after belief. And no, not the good kind. Rather the kind that brainwashes you into creating those statements above. Without any facts, without any evidence. Yet, we still believe them to be true above anything else. Why is this? Maybe its comfort. Anything challenging or new is uncomfortable so we’d rather stick to what we know and what’s comfortable, without really testing ourselves.
OK, but what about those who battle the Inner Critic, even after achieving a goal, or creating a successful career for example? Maybe its comparing our journey against another, perhaps the effort we put in, then always pressuring ourselves to do more, and if we’re not then we’re a fraud. These are just ideas. Remember, everyone is unique and follows their own path.
My Imposter (Inner Critic)
Now, there are mindfulness tips you can use to stay on top this. Hint, one of them was mentioned above, but I’ll go into detail on that later. For this section, I wanted to talk about the recent battles with my inner critic.
As I’ve mentioned on other areas of my site, I feel its my purpose to provide a service. A service where I can use my experiences of overcoming physical and mental trauma to give back, so others can do the same. I’ve known this for quite a while, but I still keep working on myself and my mind as everyone should. One thing I noticed, at the end of last year just before Christmas, was a sudden feeling of guilt coming up on me. I had this prefixed mindset that in order to be successful and deserve success, I had to be working on this website, its content, my marketing etc every day. That one day not spent on my site or marketing myself, was one day further away from being a success. Meaning I didn’t deserve it unless I spent every spare minute of my day working towards it. Yet, I wanted to have some ‘me’ time too. To have some fun, and escape. I’m not ashamed to admit it, but it had me question whether my purpose was actually something I wanted to pursue. The pressures I was putting on myself and the sense of not deserving it was starting to take the fun out of the journey. It was a catch 22 situation, and this scared the living shit out of me.
Fast forward on a couple months. I was scrolling through Instagram and had an advert pop up. It was an advert for a small taster event by Tony Robbins called ‘New year, New you’ I think. I’d heard of Tony Robbins before and it was a free event so figured why not. While it was an enjoyable 3-4 nights it didn’t help solve any of my anxieties. It actually made them a whole lot worse. Realising that this dude is a speaker and coach, and a pretty good one at that. So, my inner critic perks up again. Look at how good that guy is and how long it took him to sell out arenas. You really think you’ll do that? Why would people want to come to me or listen to me speak when they can go see him? He has way more experience and popularity. What really didn’t help was listening to him say if you want to be successful in your business you have to spend every waking minute on it. I’m sat there thinking, “sure, but its not worth it if its sucking the fun out of your life, you have to live after all, otherwise you’ll look back with regret for not spending time doing more of the things you loved”. It felt overwhelming at the time, as it felt I was doing it all wrong, or not doing enough. I started to question my future, my beliefs, even my identity.
It was at this point I went looking for help.
Rediscovering love for self
So, the first thing I do is reach out to those closest to me for a bit of help, some guidance. A different perspective on this spiritual journey. It was here I found some answers to dealing with my inner critic. To really shut it out.
As I mentioned in a previous blog (The Art of Loving yourself). A friend gave me simple advice that its OK to feel this way and that maybe its just not time yet. Take some time away from everything to focus and love yourself again. That’s where the dating yourself mentality came from. It was also understanding that you really do have to be patient and have faith everything will work itself out and give you the answers.
It was then, I found I was starting to love myself stronger and more unconditionally than I think I’ve ever done in my life. Why? Because I’m f*cking amazing, better yet, because I’m unique. This was a huge light bulb moment for silencing the inner critic. There’s no one like you, and that my friends, is beautiful. It’s also your selling point. Especially for me from a business start up sense. This has how I shifted my negative belief to a positive. Sure, there are plenty of people who are already highly successful, but that doesn’t mean I cant be. In fact I know I will be, and that’s because I’m offering something they cant. ‘Me’. Regardless of what you’re doing or what you’re trying to achieve and give back. There will always be people out there that may only grow and succeed with your help and guidance. As you will serve them in a way no one else can. That has how you change worlds.
Defeating the Imposter
I’ll often see online, people going through a bit of struggle and often say “I’m grateful its not as bad as that person has it, or they have it way worse than I do.”. We can’t make those comparisons to others in that regard. As soon as we do, we start to devalue our own journey. Then we’ll start to question our own self-worth over and over again. This is the space in which negative beliefs like thrive. This simply cannot go on. Your experiences are unique to you. You may not feel its worse in comparison but I bet you the feelings and emotions are the same. We’re all here to love and help each other, regardless of our current circumstances.
I mentioned providing evidence and the facts. Any time you feel your inner critic shutting you down. Having you second guess yourself. Simply ask yourself. Where is the evidence I’m not good enough or if I’m a fraud? Where are the real hard facts that say I cant achieve success in something? Chances are it’s only coming from within you.
There is a true reason why you’re being pulled towards having these goals and succeeding in your achievements. It’s to grow, to evolve, to live. Live your life knowing we’re are limitless in what we can achieve. We all deserve to be successful and deserve to maintain the success we already have. For we worked our arses off in our own way to get there.
I found the key to really maintaining a strong hold over my imposter syndrome started with finding a true self love for myself. It’s in that space where you find out what your true identity is. The person you love being and want others to see. This will give you the strengths to know why you want to achieve success. Why you want to grow, and what you need to do to get there.
Sure, its taking me longer to get to where I want to be. I had this notion in my head I needed to get there as fast as I can, to live my dream life. I like to consider myself spiritual, and I now choose to have faith that this is all happening for a reason. So, its important to surrender to the process and understand that everything you want and desire will come to you at the right time. Having this approach has allowed me to still keep working on my business but also allow me to feel guilt free when having a little or a lot of me time, finding happiness and peace in all moments.
Let me leave you with a quick but effective question to go away with that will help to start shifting your negative beliefs. “What do I want to believe instead?” My friends, this is simply the entrance to the goldmine.