Published on January 26th, 2014 | by Jason Goldberg
How to overcome feeling like a fraud
In this video you will learn:
- What the “Impostor Syndrome” is (and what it isn’t) and how to know if you’ve got it
- Why continuing to live in fear of being “found out” actually contributes to poor performance
- The super simple exercise to rid yourself of the impostor syndrome forever!
Do you ever feel like you aren’t as smart as everyone thinks you are?
Do you believe that your successes are more a matter of luck or timing than skill and ability? Are you totally crushed when you receive even the slightest criticism of your work? Do you worry that it’s just a matter of time before you are finally “found out”?
If this sounds familiar to you and you are getting the same tightening in your chest that I got when I first asked myself these questions, than you may be suffering from what is called the “Impostor Syndrome”.
No, this is not some clinical disorder that you cure with a cocktail of pills or extensive psychotherapy; it’s simply a default reaction that many of us face where we are unable to give ourselves credit for our accomplishments.
Regardless of how many degrees you have, how much money you’ve made or how many awards you’ve won, you are CONVINCED that it is all going to come crumbling down at the drop of a hat!
Am I just a wolf in idiots’ clothing?
This is something I struggled with for years in my previous life in IT. Even though I passed numerous advanced-level certification exams, was promoted several times, led complex projects (many times doing things I had never done before) AND received a ton of praise from my bosses and clients about my work and my abilities, all I could ever think about was how lucky I got on “this one” and that the NEXT project would be the one where they would REALLY see that I didn’t know my stuff. Essentially, I felt like a wolf in idiots clothing!
And it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy if you let it. Your continual stress around messing up or revealing your true “less-than” colors, actually make it more likely that the thing you are focusing on NOT doing is exactly what you will do!
Plus, when we operate from this “Frank or Fran the fraud” perspective, we put up a wall between ourselves and others and have less successful and productive relationships with our peers, our leaders, our clients and even our friends and family because we are so guarded about who we really are! As long as you are an impostor, you will be convinced that you could lose all of the security, love, money, self-worth or anything else that you feel you don’t deserve, even though the evidence would show otherwise.
What would Tom Cruise and Cuba Gooding do?
If that is the way you want to live, then by all means, please turn this video off now. BUT if you are ready to shift your beliefs around your successes from deception, timing and a coin flip to a new place where the reality of your accomplishments outweigh your fear and doubts, please continue on!
In my quest to overcome this for myself and to help my clients do the same, I have developed a simple exercise that I have found to be very effective. You may have gotten a clue from the skillfully doctored Jerry Maguire clip in the intro, so lets dive in.
The next time you say to yourself “I’m a fraud, I don’t belong here…” or “I’m an impostor, I’m not nearly as smart as they think I am…” respond to yourself with one SERIOUS request…
SHOW ME THE PROOF (that I don’t belong here…)!
Then take a few minutes to write down all of the things you have accomplished or that you are proud of for as far back as you can remember and make sure to congratulate yourself IN WRITING as you are making the list.
You will quickly see that it is VERY hard to try to prove to yourself that you ARE a fraud once you have all of these amazing FACT-BASED accomplishments in front of you.
All the fraud crap you keep giving credit to (luck, timing, trickery) are not facts and its time to rid your brain of these bogus thoughts and irrational beliefs! By challenging them with this real-life track record of what YOU HAVE been able to do, over and over again in your life (which proves it wasn’t a fluke), you will start to realize that you CAN and HAVE made things work, that you DO belong and you are NOT an impostor!
The goal is to give yourself credit for what you have accomplished WHILE ALSO giving yourself permission to be human and screw up once in a while without it meaning anything about the person that you are.
I think Michael Neill said it best (and it’s a ME-ome-tweet) when he wrote:
“The more energy we put into developing our mask, the more convinced we become that we really need one”.
Click here to tweet it out!
Remember the truth is, you do not need a mask, you are uniquely you, so valuable and so talented. Any mask you create and put on is just watering down the awesomeness that you possess and that the world needs!
Wait, before you jet outta here…
As you know, the power of this community explodes when we share our gifts, wisdom and insights with each other. Do you ever feel like an impostor or a fraud? Have you tried the “show me the proof” exercise and gotten great results? Either way, let us know your biggest takeaway from this video in the comments section below! We are here to support you!
If you know someone who could benefit from hearing this message, be a good friend and share it with them! And don’t forget to head over to MEometry.com to sign up for exclusive email updates and to get insights that I only share with my most engaged peeps!
Remember that you and your gifts are extraordinary and exceptional.
Be You, Do You, and Love You because you know there is only one OF you!
See you next time on MEometryTV
Jason “JG” Goldberg