The Imposter Syndrome and How I'm Getting Over It
I don't know if I'd ever heard about the imposter syndrome until someone very successful by popular standards explained to me that they struggled with it daily. The way I understand it is it's the feeling that you don't deserve to be in a room or a role - maybe you think you're less qualified, connected or accomplished as the rest and that you somehow tricked people into believing you were.
It just cropped up for me the other day as I was at an event for Mother Untitled. As I tried to casually walk the room, I felt this twinge of insecurity. It didn't come up in any normal way like sweaty palms though I did feel excessively warm - more so, it felt like a distance between me and everyone else. I suppose I toughened up waiting - as people who struggle with imposter syndrome do - to be exposed. For someone to come up and ask what right I had to have started another website for mothers or question its place in the content universe.
By the next morning, the oddness had passed, but the awareness that that inner fear existed is lingering. As I've been considering it and occasionally talking about it, I realized just how common it is. I'm shocked by some of the women (and men) who say they know the feeling. The idea that these people who I hold in such high regard would feel vulnerable in situations, worried that they'll be "exposed" as to not having earned the right to be where they are is humbling and comforting. It's also a salient reminder that feelings - especially self-doubt and insecurity - happen to the best of us and don't typically align with external perception.
As so many of us are finding ourselves in new situations in new capacities - either as full-time mothers, freelancers or consultants or entrepreneurs of any variety - we're constantly confronted with the task of re-introducing ourselves. With that comes a new kind of pressure, opportunity, and at least for me, a twinge (sometimes more than that) of self-doubt.
The remedy I'm working with so that it never grows paralyzing is to own this as my internal gap in confidence and not a reflection of anyone else's beliefs. Thought of like that, it takes the complex fear away and focuses me more on myself and the understandable work that I can always be doing to get more comfortable and confident in my new place and putting myself out there in a new way. I find writing down why I'm uniquely right for my current projects and why my personal choices are uniquely right for me to be powerful. Something we've talked about before here and here. The challenge I give myself is to keep pushing myself through situations that bring up this feeling because it's likely where I'll learn and grow the most.
Does this feeling feel familiar for any of you? What helps you feel more confident when these feelings come up for you? I'd love to hear. xo