If you have heard me talk, then you will know that I talk about controlling Imposter Syndrome not eradicating it. This week has shown exactly why that is. When I speak, I speak from a place of knowledge; be it Imposter Syndrome, time management, authenticity or any of the other topics, I have experienced many of the issues that the women I work with experience. I know how important it is to keep on top of these things so that old and familiar (and limiting) habits don’t creep back into our daily lives.
I often describe my Imposter Syndrome as a little creature. This creature sits behind my right shoulder and it’s spiky and green with a pinched face, skinny legs and long feet. It talks to me a lot and nothing it has to say is nice. It just drops its poison into my ear and, if I let it, saps my confidence, my resolve and my happiness. I know it is there because now that I’m used to controlling it, I spot when it pops up and swat it away before it can do any damage.
My little creature has been on overdrive this week primarily because things are going really well, I’ve got lots of opportunities opening up, lots of people inviting me to speak with them; lots of potential collaborations. I’m more visible than I’ve ever been and the reaction to my talks and Facebook live presentations has been fantastic. This is all nourishment for Imposter Syndrome. It’s like I’ve laden a banqueting table with goodies and invited it to dive right in. My hateful little creature has been popping up with annoying frequency throughout the day to tell me that I’m not good enough, that I’m a fraud, that I don’t know what I’m talking about and that someone is going to find this out and expose me.
Of course, that’s not true. If I didn’t know what I was talking about, I wouldn’t get the reaction that I get. I know that the experiences I’m talking about are real because I, and others, have lived and re-told them. And, I’m extremely open and honest about my life and my experiences so I’m definitely not a fraud. But my creature doesn’t need to be truthful, it needs to be hateful.
Therefore, I’ve spent a lot of the last week controlling Imposter Syndrome. As always, I’ve been noticing when the little creature pops up and as always, I’ve been swatting it away and refusing to accept what it says. I’ve also had to increase the rest of my Imposter Syndrome control measures to make sure that none of its lies seep through my defences and get to me.
Controlling Imposter Syndrome when it’s in this type of hyperdrive can be pretty exhausting so, I’ve also had to increase the self-care and cut myself the odd break just to ensure that I have enough energy to keep on top of it.
I’m pleased to say that I think my Imposter Syndrome is fairly punch drunk now and is starting to settle down again. I’ll soon be back into maintenance mode, ever vigilant but not having to be quite so aware and consciously controlling. However, I’m pleased that I’ve had this now for two reasons:
Firstly, it’s reinforced how far I’ve come. In the past this type of negative self-talk (as that is what my creature actually is) would have stopped me in my tracks and made me back away from opportunities. However, now that I’m adept in controlling Imposter Syndrome I can spot the attack and put in countermeasures quickly.
Secondly, it’s reminded me of how difficult this can be for my coaching clients when they come to it for the first time. It’s reinforced how valuable the support and guidance that I bring is and that in itself is a weapon in my arsenal against my Imposter Syndrome.