“You’re a failure!”
“You can’t do that!”
“Don’t bother, you’ll never be good enough!”
Do these phrases sound familiar? Do you hear these words often? How does it make you feel to hear such negative things about yourself? The words that spring to mind are demoralising, demotivating, sad, to name a few.
Who is it that is saying these things to you? Well, I would bet that you’re the only one saying them.
I think anyone would be hard-pressed to say that they had never criticised themselves or talked themselves down; in fact, I can guarantee that most people are their own worst critics.
But, how have we become so disillusioned with our own value and self-worth?
The problem at play here is the classic ‘Imposter Syndrome’. Think about it, would you talk to a friend or colleague with the same disdain? So, why treat yourself in this way? There has to be a reason for it as we aren’t born to not believe in ourselves.
Imposter syndrome is a psychological issue where those who are experiencing it are fearful that they will be exposed as being a fraud, even when they are totally competent or experienced in what it is that they do. It’s a total lack of self-confidence in yourself and your abilities.
Have you ever played down your achievements or accomplishments? Do you feel that your successes ‘just happened’ at the right time or there were other people involved that you could attribute the glory to? Do you feel like you aren’t worthy of praise or acknowledgement? How about the job roles you haven’t applied for because you don’t have confidence in your abilities, even though you trained for such positions?
These thoughts and feelings can all be classified in the Imposter Syndrome bracket; but what is the impact of continuing to let yourself feel this way?
A lack of confidence will undoubtedly hold you back from achieving your dreams. It will stop you from progressing in your career. It could even stop you from enjoying life and everything that comes with it. These will have a lasting and damaging impact on you and your wellbeing.
What is it that has given you this false belief that you simply aren’t good enough or you’re not up to the grade? Was it a bad experience that you’ve had that knocked you down? Was it society telling you that you aren’t good enough? Did you get to where you are through hard work without the grades? Whatever it is, it’s stopping you from living your best life!
Do you think all of those successful people woke up one day and became who they are overnight? They probably feel nervous about new ventures, just like the rest of us but they don’t succumb to their brain telling them to stay away from the risks.
Imposter syndrome is essentially your brain playing tricks on you, probably stemming from the good old ‘fight or flight’ response to uncertain situations. We don’t have to run from gigantic dinosaurs any more but in some parts, our brains haven’t caught up with this evolution yet and so it keeps on telling us to play it safe.
But, playing it safe isn’t going to land you your dream job or the best fun of your life. It isn’t going to bring forth the opportunities you need to inspire you and drive you forward towards realising your goals. Playing it safe will merely keep you where you are, stagnant and scared.
Finding new experiences that test our confidence and pose a challenge are great steps to helping us gain the confidence and results we desire.
Have a think about all of those things you’ve always wanted to do but haven’t felt you were able to do them.
What are they? List them out, make a plan; how can you work towards achieving them?
What else can you weave into the every day that will build your confidence and drown out the inner critic? Do you shy away from meeting new people as you are worried about what you’ll say? Do you stop yourself from driving to new places as you don’t feel confident on the roads? Do you wear the same old clothes as you don’t think you are worthy of trying something new and daring?
These are all easy fixes and will help build confidence….
My advice, JUST DO IT! Ignore the part of your conscious telling you not to try and get on with it! What have you got to lose?
The more you change your thought patterns to ‘I’ll give it a try’ instead of ‘I can’t do this’ the more your confidence will blossom and the sooner that ‘Imposter’ in your psyche will disappear.
Tomorrow, I challenge you to wear something that you have been holding back wearing as you‘ve been worried about the response from others. Or, wear that bright shade of lipstick you haven’t felt brave enough to wear out yet. Better still, strike up a conversation with someone in the supermarket or in a coffee shop.
Seek out the opportunities to help you face what it is you are most fearing and use the situation as a lesson in how you coped. What did you do, how did you push yourself to do it and did it feel as bad as you had imagined when you had done it? Did you make you feel empowered? Did it make you feel more valued? Were you surprised at how well you coped and ultimately, would you step forward and do it again?
Make sure you find ways to challenge yourself, to put yourself in situations that would normally feel uncomfortable (as long as it leads to the desired outcome of course – and don’t put yourself in danger!).
It’s only when we push ourselves to be brave do we start to live with more conviction. Living in fear of what maybe will only keep you in your box, looking out at the life you want to live.
Wear the hat, sing in the street, make that call, apply for that job, say YES, find the life you dream of!
Download this PDF to help you identify the inner critic and how you can shift it to something more empowering.
I have a programme for those who want more out of life and to find the confidence that is hidden inside. UNLEASH THE BEST OF YOU will help you build your confidence and discover a side of you you never would have believed existed. Follow this link to read more and register to be a part of the programme. >CLICK HERE<
Start living your best life by being your best self today!