Imposter syndrome is real; what is also indisputable is that the imposter is me. I am my greatest critic! I often avoid criticism because the harshest feedback I receive is on repeat daily in my mind, and it sounds a lot like me. An article on time.com defined imposter syndrome as “the idea that you’ve only succeeded due to luck, not your talent or qualifications.” Do you know what the imposter says, “you are not good enough; you got lucky; it’s only a matter of time before they notice you don’t know what you are doing.” That voice echoes in your mind, you hate yourself for it, but some days you believe it. Three things helped me begin the journey to finally telling the imposter to shut up.
Get Rid of the Perfectionist
I got rid of the perfectionist. I tend to be a perfectionist; it is a part of my personality. The one thing I have to do is fail. For a long time, I kept that voice around. Why? I figured if I kept the imposter around, somehow the imposter would protect me from making a mistake, would protect me from failing but do you know what the imposter was doing? The imposter kept me from taking risks and trying new things because trying new things meant that I could make a mistake. The imposter was holding me back. When I succeeded at something when I thought I had done a great job, the imposter slips in, forcing me to think, “it is only a matter of time before they see right through you.”
Meanwhile, my anxiety was mounding, my heart was pounding, and panic attacks kept me in a chokehold of fear. The change could not impact my life because I spent too much time listening to the imposter. I would miss out on opportunities, which would sometimes render me speechless. I was constantly running through scenarios where I would be found out, whereas the imposter in me was right. What if they see? What if they know that I am not capable? What if they think I am not enough? My expectations of myself grew so great that I needed to be perfect. My work needed to be perfect because failure was not an option.
Giving Yourself Grace
The shift for me came when I realized the imposter was me. The voice in my head is telling me “I can’t” sounded a lot like me. Did you know you can say to the imposter to shut up? I started to improve when I started talking back to the imposter, saying things like this have worked out because I am capable enough. I invited people into my life who would speak life into me. Their voices became louder than the imposter, and soon enough, I started hearing that imposter less and less and hearing myself more and more.
You have the power, and now I have given you the right to tell the imposter to shut up! Be the louder voice if you can’t surround yourself with people who can be louder than the imposter. Surround yourself with people who know that you are capable because they have seen you face adversity and overcome it. They know you are enough because you have been just what they needed when needed. The imposter doesn’t have to be you anymore, nor should you allow anyone else to be the imposter inside you.
Once, I changed my thinking and began giving myself grace; the imposter didn’t seem so loud or damaging, and I began to regain my confidence.